Updated:01/23/2020 01: 55h
New images from the hidden side of the Moon. Coinciding with the anniversary of its historic landing, a year ago, the Chinese lunar probe Chang’e 4 and its rover, Yutu-2, have returned to send information of their day to day in the area and, among the data, several images in high resolution from the Von Karman crater, dento of the gigantic South Pole-Aitken basin.
The China Lunar Exploration Program has made the data collected during the twelve months of mission publicly available, and the scientific community has begun to work with them. Thus, Doug Ellison, chief engineer of the Curiosity camera team, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has processed several of the impressive images, including compositions from smaller ones, creating panoramas of the lunar soil. Your gallery is visible from your website, although you have purchased some of the results through your Twitter account.
Oh my god – the data drop is incredible: O
Trying to process some now !! https://t.co/DlI9vthrS7
– Doug Ellison (@doug_ellison) January 4, 2020
The images include close-ups of the craters and the lunar regolith (the dust of crushed rocks that covers the surface), as well as several taken from the landing module, the rover, the horizon and the routes and tracks left by the movement of the Yutu two.
And not only Ellison has got to work. Spatial Techniques, a French Twitter account related to space issues, has converted the data of the landing module camera into image files that can be accessed through this address. For its part, Philip Stooke, cartographer of the Center for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western, Ontario, has used the new information to refine maps of the itinerant route of Yutu-2 and has concluded that during its first 13 lunar days the rover has crossed about 300 meters
Because the hidden side of the Moon never looks towards Earth, the probe and rover data are transmitted through the Queqiao communications satellite, which is in a stable orbit. With the spacecraft on the lunar surface working properly, Queqiao has recently launched a pioneering low frequency radio astronomy experiment. The next step of China on our satellite is to launch the Chang’e 5 mission for the return of lunar samples at the end of this year, which would be the first mission to recover material since the last Soviet mission of 1976.