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Bad news for Yutu rover

Emily Lakdawalla • January 25, 2014 • 8

The Sun has set for a second time at Chang'e 3's landing site on the Moon. The lander is operating normally and shut down to sleep as expected, but the rover is not responding properly to Earth command so could not prepare properly for the oncoming lunar night, and likely will not survive it.

Russia's Ambitious Planetary Exploration Goals

Van Kane • January 22, 2014 • 5

Roscosmos has ambitious planetary exploration plans in the coming decades, including a series of solo lunar missions and joint missions to Mars with the European Space Agency.

New version of panoramic view from Chang'e 3

Emily Lakdawalla • January 21, 2014

A higher-resolution version of the Chang'e 3 lander's panoramic view of the lunar surface has appeared on the Web, and artist Don Davis has cleaned it of artifacts to make a beautiful, seamless view. In other news, the mission has been reorganized to accommodate a possibly year-long adventure on the lunar surface.

Video: Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration sends Bill Nye over the Moon

Emily Lakdawalla • January 21, 2014 • 1

In this fun video, the Planetary Society worked with LADEE Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration team to communicate live over their lunar link.

Updates on Chang'e 3: Rover and lander both awake, good science data received

Emily Lakdawalla • January 14, 2014 • 8

According to news reports from China, the Yutu rover woke up from its two-week nap at 5:09 Beijing time on January 11 (21:09 on January 10, UTC), successfully establishing communication with Earth. The lander woke up autonomously at 8:21 Beijing time / 00:21 UTC on January 12, and is also "in normal condition." UPDATED to note that the lander's camera apparently did not survive lunar night.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 10, 2014 • 8

A pile of Chang'e 3 photos has been released to the Web, and they are much, much better than what I've seen before. They include, for the first time, photos of Earth from the lander.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner maps geologic context of Chang'e 3 landing site

Emily Lakdawalla • January 08, 2014 • 1

The LRO Diviner Lunar Radiometer has been mapping the entire Moon on a nearly continuous basis since July, 2009. The Diviner team has produced maps of the thermal behavior and and a range of derived quantities at Chang’e 3 landing site that are described in this post.

The Last Flight of the Original Space Ranger

Bill Dunford • January 06, 2014 • 11

Remembering the Moon's first extreme close-up.

Pretty picture: Two crescents: New moon, old Venus

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2014 • 6

A baby Moon and aging Venus crescents are positioned close in the sky today, and lots of people are taking beautiful photos.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spies Chang'e 3 and Yutu

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2013 • 4

As promised, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's sharp eyes spotted the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover on the lunar surface on December 25. The hardware shows up as a few bright pixels throwing long, dark shadows, clearly visible in a before-and-after comparison.

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