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Lunar program named after moon goddess of myth

Updated: 2013-11-26 10:39

Lunar program named after moon goddess of myth

China's lunar exploration program is named after the mythological moon goddess, Chang'e.

According to legend, Chang'e and her valiant archer husband, Houyi, were given the elixir of life by the Queen Mother of the West, which would grant them immortality. Instead of sharing the pill with her husband, Chang'e ingested the whole thing out of curiosity. The overdose caused her to rise into space and finally settle on the moon. Accompanied by a jade rabbit, or Yutu, Chang'e became the goddess of the moon. Chinese traditionally worship her throughout Mid-Autumn Festival.

Another version is that Chang'e's decision to consume the elixir is caused by fear of Houyi's apprentice, Feng Meng, who attempts to steal the elixir from Chang'e. She consumes the elixir in order to escape before it can fall into Feng Meng's hands.