Chang'E-2 Lunar Photographs

Allen Versfeld's picture
Laplace A from Chang'E 2

Three dimension image (DEM) of crater Laplace A. The image data was taken by Chang'E-2 lunar probe on Oct 28, 2010
The far east is rapidly building expertise in the field of unmanned space exploration, the incredible success of Japan's Hayabusa mission is a case in point.  China's space agency have recently released photographs from their second lunar orbiter, Chang'E-2, and they are breathtaking.  
Sinus Iridum in perspective

Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of Sinus Iridum. The image was taken at 19 km altitude from the lunar surface. The largest crater is about 2 km in diameter and 450 m in depth.
Chang'E-2 was launched in October this year, and took 5 days to reach the Moon.  It orbited the moon at an altitude of 100km, and is performing a survey of the lunar surface in preparation for the third phase of China's lunar exploration project - Chang'E-3 will actually land on the moon.
Video footage from the spacecraft's engineering cameras were recently released, and I have added them to a playlist on the Urban Astronomer youtube channel.

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