Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tourist Selfies: Yutu and Chang'e pause for pictures


China's state news sources have delivered those promised, mutually-posed images of the Chang'e-3 lunar lander as seen from Yutu, and vice versa. Posted here are screen grabs, twice removed, once through CCTV feed uploaded to YouTube and grabbed again from there. Hopefully we'll have access to something approaching the quality of the originals, one day.

NASA has spoiled us, after all, having learned to pay close attention to public demand for "awesome" photography. It wasn't always the case, of course, for practical and other reasons. 

Those among us old enough to remember waiting for only a few Apollo photographs, eventually printed up in National Geographic six months after the mission, and after that had to wait decades for digital resolutions and a sibilance of a complete catalog, are impatient with delays. 

China has been particularly stingy with mission photography during their on-going Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP), but that's the kind of zero accountability one expects from totalitarian Marxists. It's still true, in China, when you "call Information" you better have some.

Admittedly, Scientists, east and west, are beginning to consider the entertainment and vicarious experiential value of space exploration images. Very little, very nearly after-the-fact thought that was given to this capability back in the Apollo era, when TV cameras weighed as much as a passenger and were twice as temperamental. 

Ironically, the CCD-based video cameras in everyone's cellular phone in the 21st century originated in the first smaller TV cameras sent beyond our atmosphere. There's even a theory, out there, that posits the ignominious end to U.S. manned lunar exploration might have been avoided if more attention had been put into camera work. That's a tough sell, of course, because the modern consumer's camera is dependent on more than one line of technological development, e.g. micro circuitry.

Regardless, those excuses for leaving the good camera home don't hold water any longer. Space exploration requires a very broad funding base and the miracle of the penny tax. So, state apparatchiks, east and west, better learn that lesson. Now, more than ever, the credo is "no pictures, no story," and, of course, "no bucks, no Buck Rogers."

CCTV Yutu rover on the Moon


Anonymous said...

Great story. Can the politics, though -- no one cares about that.

Joel Raupe said...

What "politics," Mr. Anonymous, do you demand that I "can?"

Don't you really mean that you "don't care about that?"

All the girls I go out with "care about that," because, Mr. Anonymous, if you wish not to involve yourself in politics, be certain politics will involve itself with you.

Unknown said...

Actually I agree. I come to this blog for science, not for politics. I care quite a bit about politics, but I don't want to see someone's political opinion on a site where I want to see objective science and news.

H. Schoepf said...

I come to this excellent blog since 2010. Mr. Raupe is right: Now it is time to care for politics! (Here in Europe it is even worse ... no further comment). In the US it is not too late for a Chang(´)e. Without politics, without visions, science is lost in space.

Phil Stooke said...

Everything is politics, space doubly so.