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TechnologyFirst panoramas from China moon lander

13:55  11 january  2019
13:55  11 january  2019 Source:   bbc.com

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]Portion of first color panorama from Chang’e-3 lander focuses on the ‘Yutu’ lunar rover and the impressive tracks it left behind after initially rolling all six Chinese space officials have at last released much higher quality versions of the 1st color imagery captured by China 's first spacecraft to soft land

This interactive panorama uses images from the Chang'e 3 lunar lander , which touched down on the moon in December. Chang'e 3 is the first probe to soft land on the moon since Russia's Luna 24 touched down in 1976. The lander includes scientific instruments, cameras, and a tiny rover named

First panoramas from China moon lander© BBC Raw images made the lunar surface appear red; the new images have been calibrated

The Chinese space agency has released its first panoramic image of the lunar location where it landed spacecraft this month.

The picture shows parts of the static lander and the robotic rover, which is now exploring the landing site at Von Kármán crater on the Moon's far side.

The Chang'e-4 mission was the first such attempt to touch down on the side of the Moon that we don't see.

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Behold the first panorama taken by the Chang'e 3 moon lander . It's quite crappy—especially compared to the images taken by the Mars Curiosity rover. Snapped by three cameras on the lander aimed level, 15 degrees up, and 15 degrees down, the full panorama is stitched together from over

This panorama shows China 's Chang'e 3 moon lander and its Yutu lunar rover shortly after it drove down the ramp to the surface. A Chinese Long March 3B rocket launches China 's first moon rover Yutu (Jade Rabbit) on the Chang'e 3 lunar landing mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center

The rover has just awoken from a period on "standby".

Controllers placed it in this mode shortly after the touchdown as a precaution against high temperatures, as the Sun rose to its highest point over the landing site.

Those temperatures were expected to reach around 200C. But the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) said that the Yutu 2 rover, its lander and the relay satellite were all in a "stable condition".

CLEP, which released the images, said in a statement: "Researchers completed the preliminary analysis of the lunar surface topography around the landing site based on the image taken by the landing camera."

Chinese state television has also apparently released a picture from Yutu 2 of the static lander.

In contrast with previous images from the landing site, the panoramic image has been colour-corrected by Chinese researchers to better reflect the colours we would see if we were standing there.

Online commentators had pointed out that these earlier, unprocessed images made the lunar landscape look reddish - a far cry from the gunpowder grey landscapes familiar from other missions to the surface.

In an article for The Conversation, Prof Dave Rothery, from the Open University in Milton Keynes, observed: "In the raw version, the lunar surface looks red because the detectors used were more sensitive to red than they were to blue or green."

First panoramas from China moon lander© BBC Graphic shows spots where missions have landed on the moon

Chang'e-4 was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China on 7 December. It touched down at 10:26 Beijing time (02:26 GMT) on 3 January. This is the first mission to explore the Moon's far side from the surface.

Watch a Chinese probe land on the far side of the Moon

Watch a Chinese probe land on the far side of the Moon On January 2nd, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the Moon’s far side (not the dark side) when its Chang’e-4 probe gently touched down the surface. Now, China’s space agency has released footage of the landing. The short video shows the robotic lander flying over the surface of the moon before abruptly tilting to descend (hovering at one point), before safely touching down in its new home, the Von Kármán crater. There, the lander released a rover, Yutu-2, which will explore the area around the lander.

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP; Chinese : 中国探月; pinyin: Zhōngguó Tànyuè), also known as the Chang'e Project ( Chinese : 嫦娥工程; pinyin: Cháng'é Gōngchéng)

China aims to launch two moon missions this year, one of which will make the first -ever soft landing on the moon 's far side. Launch of the Chang'e 4 lander is slated for the second half of 2018. After performing a soft touchdown on the lunar far side, the craft will "conduct in-situ and patrol exploration

Because of a phenomenon called "tidal locking", we see only one face of the Moon from Earth. This is because the Moon takes just as long to rotate on its own axis as it takes to complete one orbit of Earth.

The far side is more rugged, with a thicker, older crust that is pocked with more craters. There are also very few of the "maria" - dark basaltic "seas" created by lava flows - that are evident on the more familiar near side.

The rover and lander are carrying instruments to analyse the unexplored region's geology.

Space News reported that the rover would be put into a dormant state on 12 January, to coincide with the lunar night-time, when temperatures could drop to around -180C.

During this time, the rover would have limited functions.

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