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Emily LakdawallaNovember 14, 2010

Five amazing engineering camera videos from Chang'E 2

I couldn't believe these videos when I first saw them: five views from engineering cameras of important events in the Chang'E 2 spacecraft's journey to the Moon. It's a thrill to see actual human-built artifacts out there in space, and I don't believe I have ever seen actual video of such key mission events on robotic missions except from rocket-mounted cameras before. You can see the solar panels bouncing back and forth after they deploy; you can see the throat of the main engine glowing with every firing; you can see the Moon and Earth swinging behind the view. I think my favorite moment in all these videos is the beginning of the "Second Orbit Trim maneuver" video, when the Moon rolls and rotates behind view of the main engine with the spacecraft's series of rolls. I get the sense of a human-built machine working like utter clockwork as the rugged, ancient scarps of lunar craters lurk in the background, just waiting for us to explore them.

They were originally posted in Shockwave format on the People's Daily Online TV website. Thanks to Paolo for linking to them on unmannedspaceflight.com and to Mark Headrick for explaining to me via Twitter how to grab them and convert them to a format I could post to Youtube.

Read more: pics of Earth by planetary missions, pics of spacecraft in space, mission status, podcasts and videos, Chang'e 1 and 2, Earth, the Moon, Chang'E program

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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