NASA’s probe photographed the Chinese lander on the unseen side of the Moon
A month after China’s Chang’e 4 mission landed on the unseen side of the Moon, the cameras of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter probe have located the Middle Kingdom’s lander in Von Kármán Crater.
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) orbits around theol Moon since 2009. On January 30, cameras mounted on the probe captured the landing site of China’s Chang mission’e 4 in the Von K craterármáat. At the time the photos were taken, the orbiter was at 200 kilometersow above the surface of the Silver Globe, so the lander the size of a Chinese mission’s passenger car is only a few pixels wide.
In the following days, the LRO got a little closer to the landing site and roalso took photos, but from a slightly different angle. These photographs already show a small rover – Jade Kroly 2 with a width of dwoch pixels on the poNorth of the lander. The photos also show the shadows cast by both machines.
– Since the LRO was located 330 kilometersoin the easternod from the landing site, the Chang'e 4 lander is very small in the images. Massive g-bandorskie in the background is the western wall of Von K craterármáon rising to an altitude of about 3,000 metersow – said Mark Robinson, who is in charge of LRO at NASA. The researcher added that during future orbits, the probe should be in a more convenient position to take pictures of the Chinese mission’s.
The Chinese lander touched the surface of the invisible side of the Moon on January 3 this year. Chang mission itself’e 4 takes its name from the Chinese goddess of the moon. The mission is expected to last about 12 months, but the rover’s lifespan is estimated to be only 3 months.
Left arrow indicates lander, right arrow indicates rover. Photo. NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University
The lander and its rover settled in the Von K craterármáon. The crater is part of a structure called the South Pole-Aitken Basin, one of the largest known impact structures in the entire Solar System and the oldest on the Moon. China’s National Space Agency has sent eight instruments to the moonoin scientific to study the structure and mineral composition of the surface of the part of the Silver Globe not visible from Earth. The Chinese mission will also make observations of deep space from the unseen side of the Moon, where there are no man-made interferencesoradio censors. It will help researchers learn more about the origins of the Solar System and even the birth of the first stars in the Universe.