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RADI Scientists Pinpoint Locations of Chang’e 3 Lander and Rover on High-resolution Lunar Images
 
 Date: 2013-12-26  Page Views:
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Chang’e 3, which includes China’s first lunar lander and rover, was successfully soft landed on the Moon on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. The rover Yutu (Jade Rabbit) separated from the lander on Sunday morning, Dec. 15. The rover and the lander took pictures of each other on Sunday night, which marked the complete success of Chang’e 3 mission. The lander location (19.51ºW, 44.12ºN) has been published through the media (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Officially published location map of Chang’e 3 lander.

The planetary remote sensing team from the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), collected publically available lunar images, including Chang’e 2 orbital images (1.5 m/pixel), NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) images (1.6 m/pixel), Chang’e 3 descending video and a number of lander and rover images, for further localization of the lander and rover positions and cross verification.

Based on multi-resolution image registration and photogrammetry, the lander and rover have been localized on high-resolution lunar orbital and descent images. Fig. 2 shows the lander localization results on high resolution orbital images and a descent image. Fig. 3 shows the location of Yutu rover on descent images when the rover and the lander took pictures of each other.

                            Fig. 2. Lander localization results on high resolution orbital images and a descent image (red circle is the lander location).  

 

Fig. 3. Location of Yutu rover on descent images when the rover and the lander took pictures of each other (red circle is the lander location, yellow triangle is the rover location).

These localization results and related techniques are valuable for future lunar science research with comparative and integrated data analysis of orbital (acquired by multiple missions previously) and ground data (to be acquired by Chang’e 3 lander and rover).  

 

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