Search form


These news clips on global space news are provided by the Coalition for Space Exploration for distribution by the Space Foundation to our constituents. You can also subscribe to receive a daily email version.

NASA Moon Orbiter Spots China Lunar Lander/Rover

NASA LRO camera spots China's Chang'e 3 lander and rover. Credit: NASA/GSFC/LROC/ASU

Before and after LRO images help spot China's Chang'e 3 lander/rover mission. Credit: NASA/ASU/GSFC/LROCNASA LRO camera eyes China's Lander and Yutu rover. Credit: NASA/GSFC/LROC/ASU

China’s Chang’e 3 lander and rover have been spotted by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s (LRO) powerful camera.

At the time of the landing LRO’s orbit was far from the landing site so images of the landing were not possible.

However, ten days later on December 24, LRO approached the landing site, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) was able to acquire a series of six LROC Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) image pairs during the next 36 hours (19 orbits).

The highest resolution image was possible when LRO was nearly overhead on December 25, skirting high above the landing site at an altitude of roughly 150 kilometers.

According to LROC’s principal investigator, Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, the rover shows up in the NAC images for two reasons: the solar panels are very effective at reflecting light so the rover shows up as two bright pixels, and the Sun is setting thus the rover casts a distinct shadow (as does the lander).

The lander set down about 60 meters east of the rim of a 450 meter diameter impact crater (40 meters deep) on a thick deposit of volcanic materials.

By Leonard David


Share This Page

Share this page with friends and bookmark for future reference.

Share on Facebook Tweet This Share on LinkedIn

Additional networks and bookmarking websites:


Give Us Feedback

We want to hear from you! Feel free to send us your comments about this page. General feedback for the Space Foundation is also welcome.