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NASA probe captures China's lunar landing site in two pixels

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-08 04:27
This handout image taken on 3 January 2019 shows China's lunar rover, Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, leaving the first ever "footprint" after rolling down a track extending from China's robotic lunar probe Chang'e 4 lander on the far side of the moon. [Photo/IC]

WASHINGTON -- The United States space agency NASA has released its first look of China's Chang'e-4 Lunar Landing Site.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) approached the Von Karman crater on which the Chinese spacecraft Chang'e 4 landed, nearly four weeks after its landing.

On Jan 30, the LRO rolled 70 degrees to the west to snap a spectacular view looking across the floor toward the west wall, according to NASA.

However, about 330 kilometers to the east of the landing site, LRO captured a picture only about two pixels across and didn't detect the small rover Yutu-2 or Jade Rabbit-2.

The black-and-white picture released by NASA on Wedneday showed the west wall of Von Karman crater, a massive mountain range, rising over 3,000 meters above the floor.

China's Chang'e-4 probe, launched on Dec. 8 in 2018, landed on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan. 3.

The rover and the lander of the Chang'e-4 probe have been awakened by sunlight after a long "sleep" during the first extremely cold night on the moon on Jan. 30.

NASA announced its plan last month to cooperate with Chinese space authorities to observe a signature of the landing plume of Chang'e-4's lunar lander.

NASA and the Chinese National Space Administration agreed that any significant findings resulting from this coordination activity will be shared with the global research community at a UN meeting to be held in mid February in Vienna.

NASA said its cooperation with China "transparent, reciprocal and mutually beneficial."

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