Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

 

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has observed the landing site of China’s Chang’e-4 lunar probe for the third time, capturing a much sharper view.

LRO passed nearly overhead the Chang’e-4 landing site on Feb. 1, giving a 0.85-meter per pixel picture of the lander and Yutu-2 rover (Jade Rabbit-2) from an altitude of 50 miles (82 kilometers). The view had close to the smallest pixel size possible in the current LRO orbit.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
Credit: NASA/Goddard Science Visualization Studio (SVS)

LRO officials said the rover was 95 feet (29 meters) northwest of the lander, but the rover had likely moved since the image was acquired. The LRO will continue to image the site as the lighting changes…and the rover roves.

Slant angle

On Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, the LRO snapped the landing site for the first and second time respectively, but both in a slant angle.

Chang’e-4 lander as observed by Yutu-2 rover.
Credit: CNSA/CLEP

China’s Chang’e-4 probe, launched on Dec. 8 in 2018, landed within the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the farside of the Moon on Jan. 3.

Image of China’s Yutu-2 lunar rover taken by Chang’e-4 lander.
Credit: CNSA/CLEP

 

Chang’e-4 set down on a relatively small farside mare basalt deposit. Chang’e-4’s landing site was named Statio Tianhe by the International Astronomical Union.

In an interview with China Central Television (CCTV), Ye Jianpei, chief commander of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program said “the control and obstacle avoiding ability of our Chang’e-4 probe has been improved to meet the advanced world level.”

“This lays a foundation for our future landing on the Moon, no matter whether it will be on the South Pole or North Pole, or anywhere else, and I believe, for our future manned space mission,” Ye said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to this video overview of the LRO observations of the Chang’e-4 landing site:

https://youtu.be/UnsYxf3xm1Y?list=PLpGTA7wMEDFjObXjRev2fcG4UxGNaBmWI

Also, go to this video that details the new names given to features at the Chang’e-4 landing site:

 

 

 

 

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