Chang’e-6 mission elements (including mini-rover on display)
Image credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab


More information has come to light regarding that hitchhiking mini-rover on China’s Chang’e-6 Moon sampling mission.

The little Chang’e-6 rover is named “Jinchan” and weighs roughly 11 pounds (5 kilograms) reports the China ‘N Asia Spaceflight website.

Chang’e-6 pre-launch look with wheeled rover attached.
Image credit: CNSA/CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Image credit: China ‘N Asia Spaceflight /Inside Outer Space screengrab

Carried by Chang’e-6 to the far side of the Moon, the tiny vehicle rolled into position and captured the lander and its outstretched robotic arm that gathered lunar specimens.

Autonomous, intelligent

In a recent story, the state-run Xinhua news agency said the device was an autonomous, intelligent mini-robot, developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

“After Chang’e-6 collected the samples on the far side of the Moon,” Xinhua reports, “the mini rover autonomously detached from the lander, moved to a suitable position, selected an ideal angle for the photograph, and then captured the image.”

Key materials

In pre-launch imagery of China’s Chang’e-6, the mini-rover with four wheels surprised many China space watchers.

A glimmer of information later came from a story via China’s Science Network ( It did note the presence of a Chang’e-6 lunar rover.

Image credit: China ‘N Asia Spaceflight /Inside Outer Space screengrab


According to the article, the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (later referred to as Shanghai Institute of Ceramics) undertook the development of a number of key materials.


“The large-sized tellurium dioxide crystal developed by the Shanghai Silicate Institute has excellent acoustic and optical properties and is a key material to achieve a large field of view, high spatial and spectral resolution, and is used in the infrared imaging spectrometer of the Chang’e-6 lunar rover,” the story explains.

Image credit: China ‘N Asia Spaceflight /Inside Outer Space screengrab

Image taken by mini-rover of Change’-6 lander/ascender spacecraft on the far side of the Moon.
Image credit: CNSA

Tiny rover on lunar surface as viewed by Chang’e-6 lander.
Image credit: CLPS/CNSA/China ‘N Asia Spaceflight

“The ultrasonic motor is the ‘helper’ that presses the shutter for the ‘Chang’e Family’ lunar rover’s infrared imaging spectrometer. Piezoelectric ceramics are the core material of the ultrasonic motor,” the story continues. “Following Chang’e-3, 4 and 5, the wide temperature range and highly stable piezoelectric excitation element developed by Shanghai Silicate Institute was successfully used in the Chang’e-6 ultrasonic motor.”

In a SegerYU X posting, this translation via Google:

“The Chang’e-6 lunar rover has solar panels on the other side, and there are cameras on both sides of the rover, so it can take pictures no matter which side it faces. The rover is fully autonomous and can be remotely controlled from the ground.”

Image credit: CCTV via SegerYU X posting/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Image credit: CCTV via SegerYU X posting/Inside Outer Space screengrab















































Go to this video showcasing the mini-rover at:

Clearly different

The sporty mini-snooper is far lighter and clearly different than China’s earlier Yutu-1 and Yutu-2 lunar rovers, each Yutu having six wheels and both loaded to their solar panels with lots of equipment.

China’s Chang’e-3 Moon lander let loose Yutu-1 in Mare Imbrium after its December 2013 arrival on the Moon. 

Yutu-2’s home turf after deployment by the Chang’e-4 lander in January 2019 is Von Kármán crater within the Moon’s south pole-Aitken basin. It is reportedly alive and well and still on the move.

Image taken from Chang’e 3 lander shows Yutu rover on the roll, alive and well. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

Yutu-2 on the prowl.






















Go to this video that shows the Chang’e-6 mini-rover at:

Also, go to this up-close look at the Chang’e-6 returner capsule at:


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