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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Farside Landing and Nearside Sample Return

Long Xiao previews two ambitious Chinese lunar missions, one of which will make the first-ever landing on the far side of the Moon.

Finding spacecraft impacts on the Moon

Over nearly 60 years of spacecraft exploration of the Moon, lots of spacecraft have crashed on the lunar surface—some accidental, some intentional. Phil Stooke hunts for their impact sites.

China invites public on-board its robotic missions; and how to download Chang'e data

China plans a busy future in robotic space exploration. Besides the scientific merit, what interests me most about the upcoming Chang'e 4 mission is their intention to get the public involved.

Imaging results from the Chang'e 2 Toutatis flyby

There is a paper in press at Icarus by Xiaoduan Zou and five coauthors that provides the first peer-reviewed publication I've seen on the results of the imaging experiment performed during the Chang'e 2 flyby of near-Earth asteroid (4179) Toutatis.

More Chang'E 2 Toutatis flyby images

Last week at a meeting of NASA's Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG), Han Li of the Chinese Academy of Sciences gave a lengthy presentation on Chang'E 2. Her presentation included a new sequence of photos from the December 13 Toutatis flyby.

My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

Chang'E 2 imaging of Toutatis succeeded beyond my expectations!

The Chang'E 2 mission flyby of Toutatis succeeded in acquiring images. Oh my goodness, did they succeed. These, in combination with the incredible radar images still being acquired from Goldstone and innumerable optical observations, make Toutatis one of the best-studied asteroids in the solar system.

Asteroid 4179 Toutatis' upcoming encounters with Earth and Chang'E 2

Near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis will be passing within 7 million kilometers of Earth on December 12. Both radio telescopes and the Chang'E 2 spacecraft will be acquiring images.

Chang'e 2: The Full Story

An update on China's second lunar orbiter, Chang'e 2, which is now heading for asteroid Toutatis.

Update on yesterday's post about Chang'E 2 going to Toutatis

I have a couple of updates on my post from yesterday: confirmation that Chang'E 2 is indeed gone from L2, and more specifics on encounter dates with Toutatis.

Chang'E 2 has departed Earth's neighborhood for...asteroid Toutatis!?

According to a Chinese spaceflight forum, Chang'E program chief scientist Ouyang Ziyuan recently announced that Chang'E 2 has departed the Sun-Earth L2 point and is now en route to asteroid 4179 Toutatis!

Comparing Chang'e 2 and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter maps of the Moon

How does the LRO lunar map compare with the new Chinese product from Chang'e 2?

Chang'E 2 is on its way to Sun-Earth L2

According to an article published a week ago by the Xinhua news service, Chang'E 2 departed the Moon on June 9 at 09:10 UTC. It's now headed toward a Lagrangian point in space, but not the one I thought it was headed for.

Chang'E 2 to depart for L2 on June 16

According to a story posted on xinmin.xn and run through Google Translate, there's now been an official announcement from China about Chang'e 2's extended mission: it will depart lunar orbit in mid-June and journey to L2.

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's up in the second quarter of 2011

Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly

Chang'E 2 update: primary mission successful

For months I've had no information about China's Chang'e 2 lunar orbiter for my monthly

What's up in the solar system in March 2011

I don't think there's any question what the big event of this month will be: MESSENGER is finally, finally entering orbit at Mercury on March 18 at 00:45 UTC (March 17 at 16:45 for me).

Five amazing engineering camera videos from Chang'E 2

I couldn't believe these videos when I first saw them: five views from engineering cameras of important events in the Chang'E 2 spacecraft's journey to the Moon.

First pictures from Chang'E 2 released

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced the success of Chang'E-2 lunar mission on Monday. Yong-Chun Zheng, an associate professor at the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, presents the mission's first released pictures.

Chang'E 2 launches in less than 24 hours, weather permitting

Here are a few photos of Chang'E 2 meeting its launch vehicle in Xichang. It's a beautiful view of the spacecraft.

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