Wednesday, 10 November 2010

China's lunar probe: Bay of Rainbows reveals varied details of moon's surface

Expert: Image of Bay of Rainbows reveals varied details of moon's surface

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A black and white photo of the moon's Bay of Rainbows was unveiled Monday morning. The high quality photograph is expected to reveal the landscape details of the area, the proposed landing site for Chang'e 3.
The image of the Bay of Rainbows, snapped 18.7 kilometers from the moon's surface, shows a rather flat area covered with basalt soil. It is also scattered with craters of various sizes. The picture shows the landscape of the Bay.

Dr. Mu Lingli, Research Fellow of National Astronomical Observatories, said, "Of all the strip images that the camera took, this one reveals the varied details of the moon's surface. It contains old craters, and new ones with rays that extend 800-kilometers."

The photo's taken October 28th with the main camera on the lunar probe. A CCD stereo camera is designed to capture images 17 times clearer than that of the Chang'e one. The design of 96 sensors and scanning technology allows for an enhanced definition and resolution.

He said, "The resolution of Chang'e one's camera was 120 meters. The Bay of Rainbows area looks very smooth. But the new camera from Chang'e two shows the site scattered with craters. It does provide a much clearer image."

With the Bay of Rainbows images, the Chang'e 2 successfully completed its mission to scout out a landing location for its successor Chang'e 3. The satellite will continue its scientific objectives including investigating the lunar landscape and exploring the geological structure of the moon.

CCTV reporter Zhang Nini said, "This is the first batch of photos relayed back from Chang'e 2 and it's only a start. In the next five months, Chang'e will continue to send back more high resolution pictures, which will give scientists a more accurate understanding of the moon's geology and topography, and pave the way for China's future lunar programs.
 
China Unveils First Moon Photos From New Lunar Orbiter
By SPACE.com Staff
posted: 08 November 2010
04:24 pm ET


This photo, taken by China's Chang'e 2 lunar probe in October 2010, shows a crater in the moon's Bay of Rainbows. The image is one of the first released to the public by China's space agency. Credit: China Lunar Exploration Program [Full Story]


This photo, taken by China's Chang'e 2 lunar probe in October 2010, shows a three-dimensional map of part of the moon's Bay of Rainbows. Credit: China Lunar Exploration Program [Full Story]


This 3-D map view of the moon's Bay of Rainbows was taken by China's Chang'e 2 lunar probe in October 2010. The mission is China's second robotic mission to explore the moon. Credit: China Lunar Exploration Program [Full Story]