Color photo of Yutu rover and Chang'e lander, and more on the Chang'e 3 landing site
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla
15-12-2013 9:59 CST
Fresh off of Chinese state television is this screen capture showing a Chang'e 3 lander image of the Yutu rover and its tracks on the Moon:
And here is the reverse shot, the photo taken by the Yutu rover of the Chang'e 3 lander:
Meanwhile, in the hours since Chang'e 3's successful landing, many people have worked to figure out, from the descent imagery that was shared live with the world, precisely where the spacecraft landed. It's a Sunday morning so rather than summarize all of this great work I'll simply link to some of the best.
- The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team has located the landing site in their own imagery. They state that the spacecraft will be above the landing site on December 24 and 25, so look for images just after Christmas.
- Chuck Wood, from LPOD, takes a look at the geology of the landing site.
- Lunar geologist Paul Spudis also discusses the landing site geology.
- Some teamwork at unmannedspaceflight.com has matched some features seen in descent images with features seen in the side-looking images from the lander.
- Here is a really nice analysis of the descent images, showing that the lander did not rotate upon descent, and made a small horizontal shift right at the end of the sequence, presumably in order to land on a flatter spot.
- This PDF document from Yong-Chun Zheng describes the Chang'e 3 landing site.
- This PDF document from Junichi Haruyama looks at the landing site as seen in Kaguya data.
Geologically speaking, the lander came down in Mare Imbrium, at an interesting spot: very close to the boundary between high-titanium and low-titanium basaltic lava flows. The rover should be able to explore the nature of this boundary. According to an email from Moon mineralogist Carle Pieters, they are sitting on the younger, high-titanium basalt.
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