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Stunning Moon Photos from China’s Lunar Lander

The China National Space Administration publicly released thousands of the mission’s stunning color photos.

These photos didn’t had so much succes in Western media until now. On December 14, 2013, the lander and Yutu, its piggybacking rover, touched down on the moon’s northern Mare Imbrium—making China just the third country ever to perform a soft landing on the lunar surface, after the Soviet Union and the United States (as the National Geographic Magazine says).

Yutu snapped six photos to make a mosaic of Pyramid Rock (Long Yan), a large block of rock near Chang’e-3 that was thrown into place by an ancient impact. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

Yutu snapped six photos to make a mosaic of Pyramid Rock (Long Yan), a large block of rock near Chang’e-3 that was thrown into place by an ancient impact. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

 

On December 23, 2013, China’s Chang’e-3 lander captured this four-picture mosaic of the Yutu (“Jade Rabbit”) rover. Yutu’s right solar panel is angled downward to better catch the glancing sunlight. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

On December 23, 2013, China’s Chang’e-3 lander captured this four-picture mosaic of the Yutu (“Jade Rabbit”) rover. Yutu’s right solar panel is angled downward to better catch the glancing sunlight. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

 

On January 13, 2014, the Yutu rover snapped a panorama of Chang’e-3 and its surroundings. Two Earth days later, its motor unit failed, stranding it. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

On January 13, 2014, the Yutu rover snapped a panorama of Chang’e-3 and its surroundings. Two Earth days later, its motor unit failed, stranding it. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

 

© CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

© CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

 

A 2014 mosaic shows Yutu’s curved tracks. Yutu and Chang’e-3 landed on Mare Imbrium, the largest basin on the moon’s near side. Mare Imbrium formed from the lava backflow after a massive impact some 3.85 billion years ago. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

A 2014 mosaic shows Yutu’s curved tracks. Yutu and Chang’e-3 landed on Mare Imbrium, the largest basin on the moon’s near side. Mare Imbrium formed from the lava backflow after a massive impact some 3.85 billion years ago. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

 

With the sun directly at its back, Yutu took a photograph of its own shadow in 2014. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

With the sun directly at its back, Yutu took a photograph of its own shadow in 2014. © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

 

Chang’e-3 snapped this part of a panorama on December 17, 2013, three days after landing on the moon's lava-filled Mare Imbrium. Chang’e-3 came to rest 488 miles (786 kilometers) from Apollo 15, the first crewed lunar mission to use the “moon buggy.” © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

Chang’e-3 snapped this part of a panorama on December 17, 2013, three days after landing on the moon’s lava-filled Mare Imbrium. Chang’e-3 came to rest 488 miles (786 kilometers) from Apollo 15, the first crewed lunar mission to use the “moon buggy.” © CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES/CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION/THE SCIENCE AND APPLICATION CENTER FOR MOON AND DEEPSPACE EXPLORATION/EMILY LAKDAWALLA

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