Friday, December 13, 2013

Chang'e-3 successfully lands on the Moon

China's Chang'e-3 lunar lander successfully touched down on the surface of the Moon, Saturday, while returning live images. The landing occurred more than a half-hour prior to the time of 1340 UT announced earlier, at 1318:11 UT instead, and an estimated 160 km east of the original target in the frontier region shared between Mare Imbrium and Sinus Iridum, the "Bay of Rainbows." The preliminary official landing coordinates are 44.12°N, 19.51°W (340.49°E).
China's first  lunar lander, Chang'e-3, has landed on the Moon, not at 1340 UT, as announced Friday, but at 1311 UT, a half hour earlier. China state television televised sequential still video, 59 frames, showing the approaching surface. Eight minutes afterward, the lander deployed stowed solar panels, angled toward the low, two-week long southern solar track at the high latitude.

Chang'e-3, along with the semi-autonomous lunar rover "Yutu," have landed in northwestern Mare Imbrium, perhaps intentionally near a border between distinct basalt types.

Chang'e-3 Jade Rabbit Sunrise Detailed
The view of the originally targeted landing area, from LRO and at local sunrise, in a view cropped from an LROC WAC mosaic prepared by Maurice Collins, featured as Lunar Picture of the Day (LPOD), August 15, 2012.
The View from Earth of an informally announced target zone near Laplace A - Closing in on Sinus Iridum, familiar embayment on the northwestern edge of Mare Imbrium, from an excellent color photography of the Moon taken April 6, 2009. (See the full-sized color mosaic, showing the area of interest under lighting conditions similar to those at the anticipated time of the Chang'e-3 landing attempt, HERE.) [Astronominsk].
More to Come...

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