Chang'e-3 was China's Moon lander and first unmanned rover mission which landed and drove around the Moon in December 2013. The Chinese space agencies have, for the first time released all their images and videos for viewing by the public.
The images showcase China's success in sending the rover to moon, while Indian space agency ISRO is planning to send one by this year end. From Chang'e-3, the images of moon surface and the rover on move could be seen clearly.
Here are the first images that have been taken of the Moon's surface, after a gap of almost 42 years. Last time, the Apollo mission of NASA took such images in 1976. India is planning to send its rover by this year end as part of the Chandrayaan 2 mission.
Chang'e-3's mission was to land on the dark side of the Moon and explore that region using a rover. In 2013, the robotic lander made a successful soft-landing in Mare Imbrium, a vast lava plain in the north of the near side of the Moon, reports GbTimes. The report points out that while the initial mission was for the lander to last and relay information back to Earth for only one year, the transmitter has really not stopped working.
Only this week, amateur astronomers picked up signals coming from the Chang'e3. UHF-Satcom.com, on their Twitter page announced that on Sunday night, they received a downlink from the lander, which is known to use X-band frequency signals to transmit data. The signal was also confirmed by another astronomer and they posted their findings as well.
It is not clear at this time what exactly the Chang'e-3 is transmitting.
Now, the Chinese have also released all the images taken by their rover on the surface of the Moon. The image dump as such was spotted by Reddit user Fermenton, who also pointed out that these are the first images to be taken from the surface of the Moon since the Apollo missions ended and the twelfth and final man walked the Moon in the 1970s.
All the images have all been curated in an easy to use site and put together by Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society. There are literally hundreds of images taken and beamed back. There are separate pages for the images captured by the lander's Rover Panoramic Camera (PCAM) and the Chang'e-3 Lander Terrain Camera (TCAM).
These images were released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China National Space Administration (CNSA), The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration (SACMDE).