Check Out These Gorgeous New Pictures From China's Moon Mission | Popular Science

Check Out These Gorgeous New Pictures From China's Moon Mission

The moon rocks

China's Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover landed on the moon in December 2013. It was the first time a manmade craft touched down on the lunar surface in nearly 40 years, making China the third country to do so.

Since then, the status of the mission--and the conditions of the spacecraft--have remained somewhat mysterious to American scientists, but gradually information is funneling back. In December 2015, we learned the Yutu rover discovered a new kind of moon rock.

Now, China has made the data sent home by the two spacecraft open to the public, and Emily Lakdawalla from the Planetary Society (a non-profit organization that promotes space exploration) has made it more easily accessible by putting the images on a faster server and labeling them in English. Check out the treasure trove of images and data she posted online. The pictures above are just a small taste of what the spacecraft have sent back.

Yutu rover looks back at the lander

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration

The Yutu rover

What a cutie!

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration

The lunar landscape

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration

View of Yutu rover driving away from the lander

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration

Lunar desolation

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration

Rover selfie?

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration

Another view of Chang'e lander

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration

A closer look at the lunar regolith

Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration

tout

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