Planet Earth seen from the moon photographed by the Chang’e 3 lander on December 24, 2013 at 12:15 p.m. CST. No stars are visible because the picture was exposed to capture the bright Earth. To record stars, the Earth would have been greatly overexposed. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences
The Chang’e 3 moon lander and Yutu rover got their way up call this weekend. Roused from hibernation after more than two weeks chilling in the long lunar night, they’re back in business taking pictures and examining the moon’s crust and minerals.
With temperatures dipping to -292 F (-180 C) and no sunlight to generate electricity with their solar panels, mission control powered down the pair on December 26. The sun will shine over rover and lander for another two weeks until setting again on Jan. 25.
Earth’s plasmasphere photographed in far ultraviolet light by the lander camera on December 16, 2013. The plasmasphere is the inner part of Earth’s vast magnetic bubble called the magnetosphere and consists of dense, cold plasma or ionized atoms and molecules. Click to learn more. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences
We’ve seen precious few quality, high resolution images yet from the mission – most have been screen-grabbed off TV and video. Here are few new ones, including a couple featuring a favorite planet.
360-degree panorama of the landing site around the landing site taken by the Chang’e 3 lander on Dec. 17 and 18, 2013. Multiple images have been combined to create the view. Click to enlarge. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences
360-degree panorama around the Yutu rover. Click to enlarge. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences
Chang’e 3 lander photographed by the Jade Rabbit “Yutu” rover on Dec. 16, 2013. Click to enlarge. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences