NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured this notion of China's Chang 4's land on January 30, 2019. The lander area is magnified by a factor of two relative to the native pixel scale; The bright mirror between two arrows is landed. The large crater in the middle (just right and under the arrows) is about 1,440 meters (440 meters) wide.
Credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University
China's history production Changed 4 mission has been spied by one of his robotic moon-studying brothers.
NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently caught a glimpse into Chang & # 4 lander, which on January 2 became the first ever spacecraft to make a soft touchdown on the lunar mysterious father side.
On January 30, LRO rolled 70 degrees to the west as it approached Chang's 4's landing site, the floor of the 115-kilometer (186-kilometer) Von Kármán crater. The maneuver brought the Chinese farmer into view of LRO, even though the mission's rover named Yutu 2 ("Jade Rabbit 2") excluded detection.[[[[Pictures from the Moon's Father Page! China's Chang 4's Lunar Landing in Pictures]
"When LRO was 330 kilometers east of the landing site, Chang 4 is landing only about two pixels across (bright spot between the two arrows), and the little rover cannot be detected." LRO team members wrote in a description of the picture, released today (February 6).
"The massive mountain range in the background is the west wall of the Von Kármán crater, which rises more than 3,000 meters above the floor," they added.
Chang & # 39; s 4-land rover duo carries a number of scientific instruments that they use to characterize the surface and near-ground of Von Kármán Crater. (Yutu 2 rolled down two ramps from the top of the lander a few days after the touchdown.)
The mission could help scientists understand why the moon's near and far sides are so different from each other, Chinese officials have said. For example, dark volcanic plains known as maria cover most of the nearest side, but are rare on the far side.
Chang 4's Lander is also a biological experiment that contains fruit fly walls and seeds of a few plants, including cotton. The cotton seeds germinated, the first non-human organisms ever live on the moon's surface (not counting the microbes that ran with NASA's Apollo astronauts). The small plants froze to death shortly thereafter, however.
And in case you wondered: The Moon has a long side and a near side because it is "tidally locked" to Earth, which means it always shows the same face to our planet. (That would be the nearest page.)
LRO has been around the moon since 2009. The spacecraft's high-resolution images help numerous scientific studies and also help plan future robot and human missions to the nearest neighbor's Earth, NASA officials have said.
Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out there, "was released in November 2018 by Grand Central Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. follow us @Spacedotcom or Facebook. Originally published Space.com.