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Emily LakdawallaOctober 28, 2014

Chang'e 5 T1 rounds the lunar farside, returns lovely photo of Earth and the Moon together

The Chang'e 5 test vehicle's short mission is more than half over. It has rounded the far side of the Moon and is on its way back to Earth for a planned October 31 test of lunar sample return technology. It's not a science mission -- it's an engineering mission -- but it has managed to return an absolutely iconic photo of its distant home, seen across the very unfamiliar far side of the Moon. The photos were posted by Xinhua News; thanks to Cosmic Penguin for pointing them out.

Earth and the Moon from Chang'e 5 T1

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Earth and the Moon from Chang'e 5 T1
The Chang'e 5 test vehicle captured this beautiful view of Earth over the far side of the Moon on October 28, 2014.

The spacecraft also caught Earth and the Moon individually:

Mare Marginis on the Moon from Chang'e 5 T1

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Mare Marginis on the Moon from Chang'e 5 T1
The Chang'e 5 test vehicle launched on October 23, 2014, looping around the far side of the Moon before returning to Earth in a test of sample return technology. It took this photo of Mare Mariginis on October 28 after rounding the farside.
Earth from Chang'e 5 T1

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Earth from Chang'e 5 T1
The Chang'e 5 test vehicle captured this view of its home planet on October 28, after rounding the lunar farside.

The spacecraft's trajectory will carry it back to Earth at about 21:30 UT on October 31. Happy Halloween!

Read more: Chang'E program

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

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