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How China's lunar relay satellite arrived in its final orbit

Luyuan Xu • June 15, 2018

It took 24 days for Queiqiao to reach an Earth-Moon L2 halo orbit.

Chinese satellite snags new views of Earth from lunar orbit

Jason Davis • June 14, 2018

See the world through the eyes of Longjiang-2.

Chang'e 4 relay satellite, Queqiao: A bridge between Earth and the mysterious lunar farside

Luyuan Xu • May 19, 2018

China's fourth lunar mission, Chang’e 4, is expected to begin on May 21 with the launch of a Long March 4C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwest of China. The launch will carry a spacecraft named Queqiao, which will serve as a communication relay satellite between Earth and the lunar farside.

What's Up in Solar System Exploration in 2018

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2017

Three launches to the Moon and one each to Mercury and Mars; two arrivals at near-Earth asteroids; and an approach to an encounter with a distant Kuiper belt object are highlights we anticipate in 2018.

A closer look at China's audacious Mars sample return plans

Andrew Jones • December 19, 2017

China is making steady progress on a proposed mission to bring a piece of Mars back to Earth in the late 2020s.

How did China decide where to land its upcoming Moon missions?

Phil Stooke • September 20, 2017

How were the Chang'e 5 and 4 landing sites chosen? Space exploration historian Phil Stooke explains.

China's lunar sample return mission will pave way for future ambitions

Andrew Jones • April 06, 2017

Later this year, China is launching the Change'5 spacecraft to return a sample from the Moon. The mission will pave the way for future ambitions, including crewed trips to the lunar surface.

Finding spacecraft impacts on the Moon

Phil Stooke • February 20, 2017

Over nearly 60 years of spacecraft exploration of the Moon, lots of spacecraft have crashed on the lunar surface—some accidental, some intentional. Phil Stooke hunts for their impact sites.

What's up in the solar system, October 2016 edition: ExoMars arrives!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 04, 2016

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter arrives on October 19, and it will deliver the Schiaparelli lander to its brief life on the Martian surface. Juno's headed into its science orbit, MOM has released science data, and New Horizons will finally finish downlinking Pluto flyby data.

Yutu is NOT dead (probably)

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2016

Despite what you may have read on other websites last week, China's Yutu lunar rover is probably still functional on the surface of the Moon.

Plans for China's farside Chang'e 4 lander science mission taking shape

Emily Lakdawalla • June 22, 2016

The future Chang'e 4 lunar farside landing mission is rapidly taking shape. Now the mission's team is coming to a consensus on the landing location, as well as on the mission's instrument package.

LPSC 2016: The Moon Keeps on Giving

Ryan Clegg-Watkins • April 14, 2016

There was no shortage of interesting lunar science talks at last month’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Dr. Ryan Clegg-Watkins highlights some of the interesting results for us.

What's up in solar system exploration: April 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • April 04, 2016

This month (actually, today), Cassini had a relatively close flyby of Titan, and New Horizons will observe a very distant Kuiper belt object named 1994 JR1. Akatsuki has just fine-tuned its orbit around Venus, and Hayabusa2 has begun an 800-hour ion engine thrusting phase to steer it toward near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.

What's up in solar system exploration: March 2016 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • February 29, 2016

Welcome to my monthly inventory of the 20-plus spacecraft actively exploring our solar system. Highlights of this month include the impending launch of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander, currently planned for March 14, and the resumption of regular VMC Mars images by Mars Express.

Fun with a new data set: Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover camera data

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2016

Here, for the first time in a format easily accessible to the public, are hundreds and hundreds of science-quality images from the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover.

China invites public on-board its robotic missions; and how to download Chang'e data

Quanzhi Ye • January 25, 2016

China plans a busy future in robotic space exploration. Besides the scientific merit, what interests me most about the upcoming Chang'e 4 mission is their intention to get the public involved.

Updates on China's lunar missions

Emily Lakdawalla • January 14, 2016

It's official: China plans to send a lander mission to the lunar farside. A relay satellite will launch to the Earth-Moon L2 point in June of 2018, and a lander will follow at the end of 2018. The landing site may be within the south pole-Aitken basin.

Chang'e 5 test vehicle maps future sample return site

Emily Lakdawalla • September 03, 2015

This summer the Chinese space agency has been making progress toward its planned 2017 launch of the Chang'e 5 robotic sample return mission, performing low-altitude imaging of the future landing site.

What's up in solar system exploration: August 2015 edition

Emily Lakdawalla • August 10, 2015

I'm back from two weeks' vacation, so it's time to catch up on the status of all our intrepid planetary missions, from Akatsuki to the Voyagers and hitting the Moon, Mars, asteroids, comets, and Saturn in between.

A Sky Full of Stars

Bill Dunford • March 09, 2015

In pictures of the planets, the stars aren't usually visible. But when they do appear, they're spectacular.

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