Transmitting images all the way down, China's Chang'e 3 lander successfully arrived on the lunar surface at 13:11:18 -- half an hour before the scheduled landing time. Rover deploy is set for a few hours later.
On December 1 at 17:30 UTC, Chang'e 3 launched atop a Long March 3B rocket on a direct lunar transfer trajectory. It is scheduled to enter orbit December 6 and land December 14. The rocket was equipped with cameras that recorded thrilling video of the launch and final departure of the probe.
Some brand-new images just arrived from Curiosity on Mars, and two of the most recent are Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images of the wheels. Today's images contained two little surprises.
Astrophotographer Thierry Legault captured a striking image set of Chinese spacecraft Tiangong 1 and Shenzhou 10 transiting the Sun.
Виталий Егоров (Vitaliy Egorov) is a Russian space enthusiast who enlisted help of fellow enthusiasts to search for -- and maybe find -- the Russian Mars 3 hardware on the Martian surface. Here he explains how he did it.
Curiosity is inching her way through her first use of the drill on a Martian rock. She paused in the proceedings to capture a second Martian "selfie."
A conversation on Twitter today reminded me of this photo, which is one of my all-time favorite space images: the view from Rosetta during its Mars flyby.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured a new view of Curiosity on Mars on January 2 (sol 145). Curiosity was in the same location as the one from which it shot the sol 137 panorama I posted earlier. You can see the rover's tracks leading all the way back to the landing site!
Curiosity has already spent more than three weeks at Rocknest, working through the very slow process of commissioning the sample handling systems. While parked, she's taken a couple of amazing photo mosaics.
The thumbnail versions of the Mars Descent Imager images have shown up on the Curiosity raw images page, and hiding among them was a single full-resolution frame containing the heat shield.
Even a preliminary, low-resolution, low-frame-rate version of Curiosity's descent imager animation of the arrival on Mars contains almost more awesome than I can stand.
In 2008, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped an amazing photo of Phoenix descending to the surface of Mars under its parachute. Now it's repeated the feat, with Curiosity.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/03/14 08:47 CDT
It is always thrilling to see relics of human exploration out there on other worlds. Today, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team posted some new photos of two defunct spacecraft: the Luna 17 lander and the Lunokhod 1 rover. I've posted images of the two craft before, but the ones released today are much better.