Archive
2014
January
February
March
April
2013
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2012
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2011
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2010
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2009
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2008
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2007
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2006
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Dec. 06, 2013

The 'Bunny Girl' on the Moon

by Julie Leibach

Click to enlarge images
On Monday, China launched a lunar mission—dubbed Chang'e 3, after a mythical Chinese goddess—which will drop off the country's first moon rover, named Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit." (Listen to the SciFri broadcast here.)
 
Speaking of goddesses and bunnies . . . during NASA's Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969, the astronauts heard about the legend of Chang'e and her furry companion during a morning news briefing with Houston. Here's a clip, complete with Buzz Aldrin's succinct reaction (the transcription is farther below):

Mission Control: Among the large headlines concerning Apollo this morning, there's one asking that you watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit. An ancient legend says a beautiful Chinese girl called Chang-o has been living there for 4,000 years. It seems she was banished to the moon because she stole the pill of immortality from her husband. You might also look for her companion, a large Chinese rabbit, who is easy to spot since he is always standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree. The name of the rabbit is not reported.
Buzz Aldrin: Okay. We'll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.
 
You can listen to more conversations here and read the air-to-ground voice transcription spanning July 16-July 24, 1969, here. There are some priceless moments. ("Bunny girl" appears on page 179.) 
 
For more on the myth of Chang'e, check out the Handbook of Chinese Mythology (page 86), by Lihui Yang and Deming An. 
 
RELATED SCIENCE FRIDAY LINK

 

About Julie Leibach

Julie is the managing editor of ScienceFriday.com. She is a huge fan of sleep and chocolate.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

topics