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Emily LakdawallaDecember 15, 2013

Amazing Chang'e 3 descent video

China landed on the Moon on Saturday, and here is an amazing video of that descent onto the lunar surface. The mountains on the horizon are the Montes Recti. The Chang'e 3 lander is decelerating at an angle until about 2:50 when it can be seen to rotate vertical. This was at an altitude of about 2000 meters. It then lowered to an altitude of 100 meters, where it came to a hovering standstill (at about 5:15). It used imaging and laser ranging to determine a safe place for the landing, then continued the descent. At an altitude of about 4 meters, it cut the engines and fell to the surface. I love the dust blowing around.

This version of the video has been rotated 180 degrees from the original to place sky above ground. Here is a version of the video in its original orientation.

Don't miss our other coverage of China's Chang'e program! Including some super-cool video of the rover, Yutu, rolling on to the surface!

Read more: pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, podcasts and videos, pics of hardware on earth, the Moon, Chang'E program, Chang'e 3, animation

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Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
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