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Emily LakdawallaJanuary 10, 2014

Finally, some high-quality photos from Chang'e 3!

EDITED JANUARY 13: Three of the images have been replaced as noted below.

Once again, tips from helpful users at nasaspaceflight.com and from Twitter have led me to a new pile of photos from the Chang'e 3 mission. And these are the best-quality ones I've seen yet. Almost all of the images I've seen to date have been shared through a bizarre roundabout method of projecting them on a screen, then filming them with a video camera, then aired on television, and then screen-grabbed. These photos are different: they are clearly direct from the original digital data. They're still not perfect -- they have been downsampled, contrast-enhanced, watermarked, and JPEG-compressed -- but they're so, so much better than what I've seen before, rich with detail and nuanced in color. They were also accompanied by a little bit of information about when they were taken, which is great. Here's the trove of images.

This first one is really special:

Note: the Earth image has been replaced with a higher-resolution version since I first posted it.

And these panoramic 360 views around lander and rover are new:

Here, Phil Stooke has "unwrapped" the polar azimuthal view to make a more familiar-looking panorama:

Look, here's some science data! An ultraviolet view of Earth:

Note: the ultraviolet "image" that I had originally posted was a computer simulation. The image above is actual data.

We've seen these descent images before, but the detail is really nice here:

And finally, some lovely colorful landscape shots around the lander, of the rover, and images of the lander from the rover's survey.

Note: the image above has been replaced with a higher-resolution version since I first posted it.

I got most of the images from this slideshow. I don't recommend following that link, because the photo site also contains other photos I'd rather not have seen. I got the ultraviolet image from another slideshow that contained most of the same photos as the first slideshow, but at much worse JPEG compression.

The Sun should have risen at the landing site by now. Time to wake up, Chang'e 3!

Read more: pics of Earth by planetary missions, pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Earth, spacecraft, the Moon, Chang'E program, Chang'e 3

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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