January 29, 2014
On December 14, 2013, at 13:12 UTC, the Chinese Lunar module, Chang’e 3 soft-landed a rover on the Moon. This was the first publicly-announced lunar soft landing since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976. (The Chinese mission’s module, Chang’e is named after a Moon goddess of ancient Chinese mythology).
This clip shows images that started coming back from this mission’s Yutu (“Jade Rabbit”) rover last month. Just a couple of days ago, problems were reported with the rover, which is currently undergoing robotic repairs.
The quality of the soil photographed is startlingly different from the stark, bright classical images, with which the world has long become accustomed, which were shot in black and white during the 1960s.
The creator of this video attempts to account for this, by removing all of the color from the photos, but the soil still looks much much darker than those, with which we are more familiar. Moreover, from evidence left behind from the rover’s tracks, the soil appears to contain considerable moisture, quite different from the completely desert-like, dusty images of the Lunar surface, taken by NASA over 40 years ago.
I the words of the creator of this video:
“It sure looks like Yutu has landed right in a patch of soil you would see on Mars or Earth.” He even points out green parches, which very much appear to look like moss! I also notice what appears to be
Further, he notes the dearth of these historically momentous images in other publications, outside of the Chinese State News!
Indeed, a Wikipedia search of “Chang’e” directed me to a page which stated that many links previously added had been “blacklisted” and were therefore not available for view.
Digging deeper, I learned that besides two more Lunar missions in the works by China, that India is planning a Lunar landing this year, with the Russians planning missions, to begin establishing a permanent robotically-operated base, starting within the next few years, through 2032.
In addition, there are at least two privately-funded Lunar expeditions in the works.
The images in this clip were obtained from the following webpages: