China's Lunar Lander Sends Back Amazing New Photos of Our Moon

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 - 9:57AM
Astronomy
Space Imagery
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 - 9:57AM
China's Lunar Lander Sends Back Amazing New Photos of Our Moon
China's Chang'e 3 Lander has been exploring the moon for over two years now, along with its rover, Yutu, but we haven't gotten to see any images from its groundbreaking quest--until now, that is. The data from the lander has finally been made public, so we can see all of the dazzling new photos of the Moon's surface.

China's Change-3 Lunar Lander

Chang'e 3 made a soft landing on the moon on December 14, 2013--the first since 1976--making China the third country to land a rover on the moon, after the Soviet Union and the U.S. After the first 14-day lunar night, or approximately one month on the Moon, Yutu started experiencing technical difficulties, and stopping moving sometime in January 2014. But still, the rover continued to collect and send back important information about our Moon for months afterwards, and in October 2015, set the record for the longest operational period for a lunar rover.

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"China is trying to reach the top tier and show that they're a major space power," Kevin Pollpeter, a Defense Group, Inc. analyst affiliated with the University of California San Diego told National Geographic. "They're also contributing real knowledge about the moon that we haven't been able to get before."
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The China National Space Administration made the photos publicly available recently, but they were difficult to navigate, since the website isn't user-friendly. The Planetary Society amassed the photos in a downloadable and navigable album, and the results are stunning.

China's Change-3 Lunar Lander

China's Change-3 Lunar Lander

China's Change-3 Lunar Lander

China's Change-3 Lunar Lander

China's Change-3 Lunar Lander

China's Change-3 Lunar Lander

In their quest to become a major space power, China will continue to send further spacecrafts to ambitious locations, including another lunar rover. Chang'e 5, which is set to launch in 2017, will be a robotic sample return mission, and will hopefully bring samples from the Moon's surface back to Earth.
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