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Amazing Chang'e 3 descent video

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

15-12-2013 12:57 CST

Topics: pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, podcasts and videos, spacecraft, the Moon, Chang'E program, animation

China landed on the Moon on Saturday, and here is an amazing video of that descent onto the lunar surface. The mountains on the horizon are the Montes Recti. The Chang'e 3 lander is decelerating at an angle until about 2:50 when it can be seen to rotate vertical. This was at an altitude of about 2000 meters. It then lowered to an altitude of 100 meters, where it came to a hovering standstill (at about 5:15). It used imaging and laser ranging to determine a safe place for the landing, then continued the descent. At an altitude of about 4 meters, it cut the engines and fell to the surface. I love the dust blowing around.

This version of the video has been rotated 180 degrees from the original to place sky above ground. Here is a version of the video in its original orientation.

Don't miss our other coverage of China's Chang'e program! Including some super-cool video of the rover, Yutu, rolling on to the surface!

CNSA / CCTV

Video of Chang'e 3's descent and landing on the Moon
This version of the video has been flipped 180 degrees to put sky above ground. The mountains on the horizon are the Montes Recti. The lander is decelerating at an angle until about 2:50 when it can be seen to rotate vertical. This was at an altitude of about 2000 meters. It then lowered to an altitude of 100 meters, where it came to a hovering standstill (at about 5:15). It used imaging and laser ranging to determine a safe place for the landing, then continued the descent. At an altitude of about 4 meters, it cut the engines and fell to the surface.
 
See other posts from December 2013

 

Or read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, podcasts and videos, spacecraft, the Moon, Chang'E program, animation

Comments:

Scott Mumford: 12/15/2013 02:03 CST

I love this stuff--been watching it since the first Mariner missions--but I can NEVER tell how far above the surface we are at any given point. Really tiny craters up close look identical to really huge craters far away... :-/ Still, very cool!

Cathryn-Jane Easthope: 12/15/2013 02:13 CST

Stunning! Thanks for this Emily! (Let's see the moon hoaxers explain that one away.)

John Jogerst: 12/15/2013 03:29 CST

Way to go human-kind (and our sleep-deprived Emily)! Now can we bring in China et. al. so we can pool all our resources to get off this mudball ... or at least get out and defend it from falling rocks.

David Salo: 12/15/2013 10:13 CST

Wonderful to see, especially for those of us who were very young the last time there was a landing on the Moon.

Bob Ware: 12/16/2013 12:29 CST

Fantast! Imaging tech has come a long way since Lunar Ranger, Lunar Orbiter, Surveyor and APOLLO. Early APOLLO landing images were not as good as this landings, of course but it was exciting to watch this! Congratulations again to China for a great landing and showing it to the world.

jumpjack: 12/18/2013 02:40 CST

To better understand image scale I set up a Google Earth KML file containing a 3d model of the lander, obtained by reducing an Apollo descent module to the proper size as per this image: http://jumpjack.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/ce3-dim-copy.jpg The Google Earth file: http://win98.altervista.org/Chang_e_3_landing_site-2.kmz Where can I find raw frames of descent images? I want to try to overimpose the GoogleEarth models to enough frames to get at least a video some seconds long, although it would be quite a long work... Example of resulting images: The Beetle is there just because it's the only universally-known car: everybody should know how big it is! :-)

jumpjack: 12/18/2013 02:41 CST

http://win98.altervista.org/Change_3_Landing_12-ann.JPG

Telluric: 12/19/2013 03:57 CST

Here are links to an animated gif and two jpegs. The jpegs are the 1st and last frames of the AGIF. The last frame is an annotated version of the LROC image of the landing site. It includes a comparison to the size of Barringer crater and crater dimensions. The AGIF has reference markers that helps one maintain perspective and recognize the landing site throughout the whole video. [still frames from the original inverted landing video] agif - https://www.dropbox.com/s/36owkh08dmaarqj/ChangE3_AnimatedGif2.gif 1st Frame - https://www.dropbox.com/s/b3wtq7hk4lofvz0/Change3_000.jpg Last Frame - https://www.dropbox.com/s/54tueyuo1f73a0i/Change3_034_LROC.jpg

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