China’s Chang’e 4 Lander Is A Two-Pixel Speck In Stunning Image From Orbit

On January 3, China’s Chang’e 4 Lander touched down on its new home on the far side of the Moon. This week, NASA released the first impressive view of the Chang’e 4’s landing site. The lander shows up as a two-pixel wide speck nestled within the Von Kármán crater, which measures 116 miles across.

The view is incredible. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is about 200 miles east of the landing site capturing an image looking across the crater towards a vast mountain range on the western wall of the crater. Those mountains in the background rise nearly 10,000 feet above the floor of the Von Kármán crater.

The crater in the middle of the image that stands out might look small, but it measures 12,800 feet across and is nearly 2,000 feet deep.

You can see the lander sitting in between a pair of arrows in the top image. A zoomed in view shows how it shines a little brighter than the surrounding terrain.

The little rover (Yutu 2) that hitched a ride to the surface with it is so small we can’t see it.

The craters surrounding the lander illustrate how vast the Moon is. See the one below and to the right of the arrows? It measures 1,440 feet across.

NASA makes it a habit to check out landing sites from orbit. Back in 2013, it snapped this view of the Chang’e 3 lander.

It’s a better look at the lander, but you can’t beat the landscape shot from this week’s image.

As for Chang’e 4 and its little rover companion? The lander was designed to last about 12 months. The rover should get three months of use if everything goes smoothly.

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