NASA orbiter spies Chang’e 3 and Yutu rover on the moon

Cool image of the landing site of China’s moon mission, taken by a NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Also, a word on first science results from Chang’e.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s captured an image of China’s Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover on the moon’s surface on December 25, 2013. Also on December 25, an instrument aboard the lunar rover sent back its first science results: a spectrum of lunar soil, or regolith.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image of China's Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover on the moon on December 25, 2013. The lander is the bigger dot, and the rover is a smaller one. Image via The Planetary Society.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image of China’s Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover on the moon on December 25, 2013. The lander is the bigger dot, and the rover is a smaller one. Image via Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera.

Before and after animation of the location of the Chang'e lunar lander and Yutu rover. The Planetary Society.

Before and after animation of the location of the Chang’e lunar lander and Yutu rover. Image via Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera.

Also, this week, the Institute of High Energy Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences announced that an instrument aboard the Yutu rover obtained its first X-ray fluorescence spectrum of lunar soil, or regolith, around the Chang’e landing site on December 25.

The instrument is the Active Particle-induced X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

Initial analysis indicates that eight major rock-forming elements (Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca, Ti, Cr and Fe) and at least 3 minor elements (Sr, Y and Zr) of the moon can be identified in this spectrum.

Read more at the Institute of High Energy Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences

APXS on Yutu rover of Chang’e-3 mission. Image by Xinhua

APXS on Yutu rover of Chang’e-3 mission. Image by Xinhua

Bottom line: NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s captured an image of China’s Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover on the moon’s surface on December 25, 2013. Also on December 25, an instrument aboard the lunar rover sent back its first science results: a spectrum of lunar soil, or regolith.

EarthSky

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