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Emily LakdawallaJanuary 21, 2014

New version of panoramic view from Chang'e 3

A few days ago, a Chinese news website published a higher-resolution (though still not full-resolution) version of the Chang'e 3 lander's panoramic view of the landing site. Like most panoramic images from planetary surfaces, it's clearly a mosaic of many individual images, each of which has minor variations in color from center to edge. In the version I'm posting below, artist Don Davis has worked on the image to remove those artifacts as much as possible, making a pleasing view. I think this will be the definitive version of this panorama until such time as we get our hands on something much closer to the original data from which the panorama was made.

Panoramic view around the Chang'e 3 lander

Chinese Academy of Sciences / Don Davis

Panoramic view around the Chang'e 3 lander
This panoramic view around the Chang'e 3 lander was captured on December 20, 2013. This version has been cleaned of vignetting and other artifacts to make a more seamless-looking panorama.

Alas, the camera that produced this pan is no longer functional, but the lander's other instruments are carrying on with their mission, as is the rover. In fact, this news story states that, following the successful first lunar day and night, operations have been reorganized and streamlined to a smaller team that will support a lengthy surface mission.

Here's one other Chang'e 3 tidbit gleaned from recent releases: two more views of Earth from the lunar surface, in addition to the one that was already published. All three came from the topography camera, the same one that produced the panorama above.

Three views of Earth from Chang'e 3

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Three views of Earth from Chang'e 3
Chang'e 3 watched Earth change phase during its first lunar day of operations in late December 2013.

Just for fun, here's an interactive version of the lander panorama, put together by Andrew Bodrov.

Read more: pics of Earth by planetary missions, pics of spacecraft in space, mission status, 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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