China’s 1st Lunar Lander snaps 1st landing site Panorama

by Ken Kremer on December 22, 2013

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Portion of 1st panorama around Chang’e-3 landing site after China’s Yutu rover drove onto the Moon’s surface on Dec. 15, 2013. The images were taken by Chang’e-3 lander following Dec. 14 touchdown. Panoramic view was created from screen shots of a news video assembled into a mosaic. Credit: CNSA/CCTV/screenshot mosaics & processing by Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer See the complete panorama below   Story updated

Portion of 1st panorama around Chang’e-3 landing site after China’s Yutu rover drove onto the Moon’s surface on Dec. 15, 2013. The images were taken by Chang’e-3 lander following Dec. 14 touchdown. Panoramic view was created from screen shots of a news video assembled into a mosaic. Credit: CNSA/CCTV/screenshot mosaics & processing by Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer
See the complete panorama below
Story updated

China’s inaugural Chang’e-3 lunar lander has snapped the missions first panoramic view of the touchdown spot at Mare Imbrium.

Chinese space officials have now released the dramatic surface imagery captured by the Chang’e-3 mothership on Dec. 15, via a video news report on CCTV.

To make it easier to see and sense ‘the new view from the Moon’, we have created screen shots from the rather low resolution TV broadcast and assembled them into a photo mosaic of the landing site - see above and below mosaics by Marco Di Lorenzo and Ken Kremer.

The Chang’e-3 mothership imaged the stark lunar terrain surrounding the spacecraft after the ‘Yutu’ rover perched atop successfully drove all six wheels onto the moon’s surface on Dec. 15, barely 7 hours after the momentous landing on Dec. 14.

The individual images were taken by three cameras positioned around the robotic lander.

1st panorama around Chang’e-3 landing site after China’s Yutu rover drove onto the Moon’s surface on Dec. 15, 2013. The images were taken by Chang’e-3 lander following Dec. 14 touchdown. Panoramic view was created from screen shots of a news video assembled into a mosaic. Credit: CNSA/CCTV/screenshot mosaics & processing by Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer

1st panorama around Chang’e-3 landing site after China’s Yutu rover drove onto the Moon’s surface on Dec. 15, 2013. The images were taken by Chang’e-3 lander following Dec. 14 touchdown. Panoramic view was created from screen shots of a news video assembled into a mosaic. Credit: CNSA/CCTV/screenshot mosaics & processing by Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer

Chinese scientists then pieced them together to form the lander’s first panoramic view of the lunar surface, according to CCTV.

“This picture is made of 60 pictures taken 3 times by the rover. The rover used three angles: vertical, 15 degrees tilted up, and 15 degrees down…so that we get an even farther view,” said Liu Enhai, Designer in Chief, Chang’E-3 Probe System, in a CCTV interview

The panoramic view shows ‘Yutu’ and its wheel tracks cutting a semi circular path at least several centimeters deep into the loose lunar regolith at the landing site at Mare Imbrium, located near the Bay of Rainbows.

After making its soft landing, the Chang’e-3’s lander took pictures around its landing spot. Credit: CCTV

After making its soft landing, the Chang’e-3’s lander took pictures around its landing spot. Credit: CCTV

A significant sized crater, several meters wide, is seen off to the left of Yutu and located only about 10 meters away from the Chang’e-3 lander.

Several more craters are visible in the pockmarked surface around the lander.

Mission leaders purposely equipped the lander with terrain recognition radar and software so that it could steer clear of hazards like craters and large boulders and find a safe spot to land.

Wheel tracks from Yutu moon rover. Credit: CNSA/CCTV

Wheel tracks from Yutu moon rover. Credit: CNSA/CCTV

Indeed just prior to touchdown, the lander actually hovered at an altitude of 100 meters for about 20 seconds to avoid the craters and rock fields which could have doomed the mission in its final moments.

See the dramatic Chang’e-3 landing video in my earlier report – here.

Here is our annotated screen shot from the landing video showing the eventual landing site in the distance:

This screen shot from one photo of many of the moons surface snapped by the on-board descent imaging camera of the Chinese lunar probe Chang’e-3 on Dec. 14, 2013 shows the probe approaching the Montes Recti mountain ridge and approximate location of the landing site. This marks the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body. Credit: Xinhua/CCTV/post processing and annotations Marco Di Lorenzo /Ken Kremer.  See the entire stunning Chang’e-3 lunar landing video – below

This screen shot from one photo of many of the moons surface snapped by the on-board descent imaging camera of the Chinese lunar probe Chang’e-3 on Dec. 14, 2013 shows the probe approaching the Montes Recti mountain ridge and approximate location of the landing site. This marks the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body. Credit: Xinhua/CCTV/post processing and annotations Marco Di Lorenzo /Ken Kremer.

The 140 kilogram Yutu rover then turned around so that the lander and rover could obtain their first portraits of one another.

“The rover reached the point of X after it went down from the lander, then it established contact with the ground. Then it went to point A, where the rover and lander took pictures of each other. Then it reached point B, where it’s standing now.” said Liu Jianjun, Deputy Chief Designer, Chang’E-3 Ground System, to CCTV.

China thus became only the 3rd country in the world to successfully soft land a spacecraft on Earth’s nearest neighbor after the United States and the Soviet Union.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and space agency leaders have hailed the Chang’e-3 mission as a complete success for China.

The Yutu rover, which translates as ‘Jade Rabbit’ will use its science instruments to survey the moon’s geological structure and composition on a minimum three month mission to locate the moon’s natural resources for use by potential future Chinese astronauts.

The lander will conduct in-situ exploration at the landing site for at least one year, say Chinese officials.

Hopefully, China will quickly start releasing full resolution imagery and video taken by the Chang’e-3 lander and Yutu rover at a dedicated mission website, like NASA does, rather than issuing photos of imagery from projection screens and televisions – so that we all can grasp the full beauty of their tremendous lunar feat.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Chang’e-3, LADEE, MAVEN, MOM, Mars rover and more news.

Ken Kremer

Landing site of Chinese lunar probe Chang'e-3 on Dec. 14, 2013.

Landing site of Chinese lunar probe Chang’e-3 on Dec. 14, 2013.

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Perilous December 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM

This is fantastic. It’s a shame that we here in the States dont seem to be too interested in this, when in reality, we ought to be thrilled.

I know I am! :D Well done, China! I cannot wait to see what Yutu and Chang’E-3 show us! :D

Scientist December 22, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Everyone on Earth should be excited. This is one of the great scientific achievements of humankind, no matter which nation achieved it. Now you should understand why our American students (K-12) scored so low on international sponsored examinations.

Nittany_Lion December 22, 2013 at 10:12 PM

We were very excited when the United States landed PEOPLE and rovers on the moon . . . FORTY YEARS AGO!!!!!

And we did it mostly with slide rules for computations.

Olaf2 December 23, 2013 at 8:09 AM

That is a myth. Slide rules were used but only for simple things in the design. e.g. building the seats….

Apollo used powerful computers to make it happen.

People always talk about the Apollo on board computer but they ignore the fact that it was strapped via telemetry to a big mainframe that really did the work.

http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2013/07/the-apollo-program-a-personal-journal-ground-computers

Low IQ January 2, 2014 at 2:19 AM

it’s amazing how the minds of today’s youth are trying to quantify the difference of 44 years?..LOL!

tvtony December 24, 2013 at 5:13 AM

N its thinking like this why we (usa) will just continue to fall behind. Yes we landed there. As a political ploy just to show we could. They will conduct experiments that will eventually actually help humanity.

Anothercoilgun December 24, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Yes excitement!!!! Forget about Mars!! and 1969!!! or the fact that thousands of satellites placed into earth orbit over that past few decades and space stations!!!!
Those kids being droned in the middle east should be excited!!!!
Those millions of foreclosed on in just 2008 to 2010 largest in recorded history should be excited!!!!!
The 500,000+ dying this year and increasing each year of cancers should be excited!!!!
Other than DAY ONE. You will not hear one peep of new updates, images, or video. You should be !!!!!!!!!!!EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coacervate December 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM

You there in the United States…I feel very threatened by this. You could see a new Giant on the block who is wide awake and playing with his little moon rabbit. Soon playtime over. You seem to have opinion that space is optional. your bad.

Anothercoilgun December 24, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Fixed:
You there in the United States. Do you feel threatened by this? You are seeing a new Giant awaking and playing with his moon rabbit but no for long. Your opinion that space is optional is your bad.

^ Talk about low education scores:)

bornfreemen December 23, 2013 at 11:30 AM

The main stream liars here have been told to play it down , because the Chinese are probably checking to see that the USA never landed on the moon , so they can claim it , and use evidence to black mail the USA , like , they would tell the rest of the world what liars the USA government is made up of , if we dont give them California, …

Anothercoilgun December 24, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Playing it down I fully agree. What I don’t understand is why China would not make every effort to expose whatever they find. What is with this no “plan” to view the Apollo site in 90 days of exploration? I would have made that Priority One Day One :)

Olaf2 December 22, 2013 at 3:37 PM

I am surprised in the low quality images.

Is there a design flaw in the optical systems and not using white balancing, like using the wrong glass?

I love the images, but this low quality is not something I expect in modern days.

philw1776 December 23, 2013 at 10:25 AM

They have better images as mentioned in the article above. For some inscrutable reason they have yet to release them. We gotta be patient.

Hug Doug January 4, 2014 at 12:33 PM

China has been VERY stingy with its data. we haven’t gotten any of the raw images, which makes me so glad that NASA is quite free with its data :)

Aqua4U December 22, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Good job Ken and Marco! especially when considering the low res. source(s). I’d like to know more about the cameras on both the lander and the rover? The Pan cams and haz avoidance cams…

Ken Kremer December 22, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Thanks Aqua. we’d all like to know more – note my last paragraph

newSteveZodiac December 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM

I’m grinning at the the thought of a grave announcement down the road that the original camera images have been denounced and new, color balanced, HD images have taken over.

Ken Kremer December 23, 2013 at 3:36 PM

excellent!

Mark Bajaj December 23, 2013 at 3:01 AM

This is very exciting. Whilst man isn’t on the moon, a man made object is that will help us learn about the moon and show us amazing images. I take my hat off to China for this – maybe we should all concentrate less on the fact that a single nation has done this, but as the late great Carl Sagan said in Cosmos, realise that we as Humans have achieved this – we are all from Earth and in the wider universe it doesn’t matter what part of Earth we are from.

Anothercoilgun December 24, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Do you know that US have alleged to been there and done their sampling and exploration?

UFOsMOTHER December 23, 2013 at 6:47 AM

So far so good , well done China, just hope you could send us more pictures from the Lunar surface ,this is the first news for almost 40 years about our neighbour. go rabbit go…..

JSinMN December 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Congrats to the people of China! Good for them! If it takes a Cold War to spark a US interest in space exploration, bring it on!!! Great photos, guys!

bornfreemen December 23, 2013 at 11:26 AM

I am here in the United Stasi of America, , and I want to know if the Cheese plan to visit the site where the USA landed in the 60s, I would like to see evidence that the USA was there, because , I dont believe we landed on the moon at all.

tvtony December 24, 2013 at 5:55 AM

Lol wow I did not even think of that. It would be so hilarious if they proved we lied lmao. But remember we owe them so much money the force us to police the world. Why would they send there 18 year olds to die in war when they can make us do it. China n india have four times the amount of ppl as america It makes no sense we go n into countries n police. As much as id love to c them show us there is no american flag on the moon, it would almost hurt them too. Lol n who goes to the moon n plants a flag! Stay there n do experiments, plant a flag n pretend to claim it that is some “we r better than you” american rascist idiotic thinking.

Anothercoilgun December 24, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Sadly, its not going to happen. All you will get is the Day One landing. Thats it. Its all over.

Not “planning” to view the Apollo
site? LOL what a joke. Seen than one coming a mile away. To go all
that way and to not do that is pathetic. Equally is to use 1980′s
resolution and have their minions tell everyone… uuhhhh the good pics
to be released later. Released? Released from what? 10 days and still
these horrible few images from day one. All the while CGI image after
CGI video released by the boat loads.

I wanted this more than most. And now just as expected after my
disappointment, this entire landing will smoothly be swept under the
rug. There will be no regular, no occasional, no free live feeds, no
premium subscription access to live feed, none of these will come to
pass. What you haven now, the plethora of CGI, and a hand full of doggy
images is all there will be.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
We are landing on the moon.
We are landing on the moon who?
We
are landing on the moon, sucking up tv time, having 1,000′s of articles
filled about DAY ONE and that is all you are going to get. Period.

Hua December 23, 2013 at 6:48 PM
Hua December 23, 2013 at 6:52 PM

they don’t have the plan in the first 3 months, but after 3 months, if the rabbit still alive, they will go there to have a look, but a long way to go,

bornfreemen December 23, 2013 at 7:48 PM

as soon as that rover gets close to camera distance , i bet the USA shoot some laser guided high tech weapon that disables or blows it up,
Assuming there is nothing there to show where the USA landed , and they have to hide that fact.

How tough was it for China to secretly launch a rocket and landing rover mission have the USA believe they don’t want to go near the original landing site,

Hell , if we really landed there it would have been a joint mission , and we could have had China land right on our site , just to show the world we were there first.

But though all the stuff we buy is made in China and shipped here , they want the whole USA population to think we are still enemy’s.

The corporations that run both country’s are playing us like the dumb fiddles we are.

tvtony December 24, 2013 at 6:04 AM

U r so right, however that laser wepon tech, china has it not america. One thing we r trying to do is take the humans out of war n we r doing a good job. But until the word “INFANTRY” is removed from the military the future of our country will continue to die while corporate leaders kids follow in same footsteps as there money hungry forefathers!

bornfreemen December 24, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I hear that tvtony, Americans believe all the brainwashing propaganda thrown at them by TV main stream media liar whore , and professional sports bull [Deleted.]. The only way men in this country will wake up is if main stream sports starts broadcasting the true horrors of American wars and the wrong doing of evil corporations , specially the oh so innocent Bankers ,oil company’s, and military industrial complex.
They spew things like support your troops , and try to make us Americans feel less worthy as citizens if we don’t agree with the government fake story’s and invasions of other country’s. The mind job was so devastating to American men that women are shouting ” man up ” to men and their children in certain situations , as if the women are now tougher and more leading in supportive of war and violence.

Its really sick , if your not a sports jock , or sports fan as a man, you had better support the troops and war as your next hero.

Men and boys in this country have been made third class citizens next to troops and women who support troops , because what else could women do , most of them hate sports , and they had to find a way to become important. Being a mom of children they send to war was not good enough, they were back seat citizens supplying power via their children , but supporting the wars and telling men to ” man up ” , well , the war monger elite played that up , and have made women leading characters in cop shows , CSI, anything where women are in charge leading weak men.

Men have become non thinking robots of the 9/11 lie, and have been made to think if your not fighting for this country you had better support the wars, what utter natzi bull [Deleted.].

George Bush said it best when he said , ” Your either with us or with the terrorists ”

That was pure dictator crap , only tyrants and liars make statements that create absolutes. You are not allowed to think for yourself and tell the USA government dictators they are all full of [Deleted.] and hard core liars.

I dont support these wars for oil , not since I became convinced that the trade towers were brought down via demolition … and the whole world knows except stupid America.

Anothercoilgun December 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM

About time someone with brains in this thread speaks out.

Hua December 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM
tvtony December 24, 2013 at 5:46 AM

It a shame we care more about what kanye west does than helping humanity. N look at these comments, we should be so excited, but we turn racist n put other countries down, only in america. Then theres the space station, problem after problem just waisting resources n putting peoples lives in danger. So our answer is to cut the nasa budget, allow someone from another country to shutdown our goverment n cost us 500 billion as he reads us green eggs n ham. i watched america OUTSOURCE the obamacare website for some odd reason im yet to understand. This is probably not a surprise n in next few years i will not be the only one moving out, im currently shopping for houses in australia. if you have never looked, take a look at average house price n rent in sydney austrailia compared to there min wage. this to me proves america is just a corporate playground. And I love how we call an african american president a socialist When we have had something in usa called SOCIAL security for almost a hundred years. If there was ever a definition of a ponzi scheme that’s it. But it goes back to we care more about kim n kanye n don’t even realize we r just being distracted n allowing corporations to run our lives.

Anothercoilgun December 24, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Not “planning” to view the Apollo site? LOL what a joke. Seen than one coming a mile away. To go all that way and to not do that is pathetic. Equally is to use 1980′s resolution and have their minions tell everyone… uuhhhh the good pics to be released later. Released? Released from what? 10 days and still these horrible few images from day one. All the while CGI image after CGI video released by the boat loads.

I wanted this more than most. And now just as expected after my disappointment, this entire landing will smoothly be swept under the rug. There will be no regular, no occasional, no free live feeds, no premium subscription access to live feed, none of these will come to pass. What you haven now, the plethora of CGI, and a hand full of doggy images is all there will be.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
We are landing on the moon.
We are landing on the moon who?
We are landing on the moon, sucking up tv time, having 1,000′s of articles filled about DAY ONE and that is all you are going to get. Period.

Highlowsel Smith December 24, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Nicely done China! Another one for the species! Because from the viewpoint of outsiders looking at this accomplish that is all they’d see; “HEY! The naked Chimpanzees have sent another itty bitty toy to their moon! Looks like they’re trying to get it together….maybe someday they’ll stop all the feuding and monkey-biting of each other and actually accomplish something…..” (Heh)

Anothercoilgun December 24, 2013 at 8:29 PM

I like how this retarded website sells out and put the usual control foofle stuff at the top of page and on the left side, not including the foofle sign in for commenting. 2 forms of selling out is just not enough for you is it.

Coacervate December 24, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Take your meds man

Jake Robinson December 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Come on, China, show us what the U.S. gov’t won’t let us see…

Article Chase December 26, 2013 at 9:44 AM

We are discussing the old conspiracy theory of no stars in NASA moon landing images, the ‘never been there’ issue and the fact that there are no stars in the Chinese rover images. Does that now prove NASA did go or that China are also in the process of faking? You decide. http://articlechase.com/beyondnews/showthread.php?tid=7366

Hug Doug January 4, 2014 at 12:27 PM

neither. it proves that cameras require several seconds of exposure time to capture starlight, which is extremely dim compared to the brightly lit surface of the moon – something that’s been known for decades. this is, btw, the explanation for no stars in both Apollo images and the Chinese images.

stars in the pictures would have been evidence that they were faked.

Low IQ January 2, 2014 at 2:22 AM

no…just need a different ideology in office before a change can be seen, like in all circumstances of life the pendulum swings from left to right…

TheDalaiSputnik January 2, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Always sad to see how quickly the discussion of a wonderful technological achievement deteriorates into brainless conspiracy spewing landfill fodder or becomes a soapbox for the latest political flavor of the week, no matter how unrelated.

Hug Doug January 4, 2014 at 12:30 PM

China has been VERY stingy with their data. it makes me glad that NASA is so free with the data it gathers :)

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