Video and photos of China's lunar rover mission


Posted: December 16, 2013

China's robotic lunar lander sent back its first sharp images on Sunday, showing the six-wheeled Yutu rover a day after driving off its landing platform to begin a three-month sojourn across the moon's barren soils.

Adorned with a Chinese flag, the Yutu rover appeared in imagery taken by a camera mounted on the Chang'e 3 mission's stationary lander, which touched down on the moon Saturday at 1311:18 GMT (8:11:18 a.m. EST).

The rover disconnected from the landing platform beginning about six hours after touchdown, severing electrical and mechanical connections before sliding off the lander on a ramp and driving on to the moon's surface.

The video below shows the lander's descent from an on-board camera, with the moon's craters growing large as Chang'e 3 loses altitude. The imagery shows the lander slowing its velocity before pivoting to point its engine down for the final phase of descent.

Near the end of the clip, dust can be seen being kicked up by the lander's variable-thrust engine.

The photos include images recorded by the lander's navigation camera after landing, showing the terrain around the landing site in Mare Imbrium and the rover's deployment from the landing platform Saturday.

The last two photos were taken Sunday as the rover and lander took pictures of each other about 30 feet apart.

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Credit: CCTV/June Maher

Credit: Xinhua

Credit: CCTV/Spaceflight Now

Credit: Xinhua

Credit: Xinhua

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