We’ve become used to looking at unclear images of the Moon’s surface taken about 50 years ago, but the newest collection of photos issued by the Chinese space agency comprise some of the clearest pictures ever taken. These stunning pictures were taken by the Chinese Space Agency’s Yutu lunar rover.
Yutu lunar rover is also known as the “Jade Rabbit”. It landed on the Moon on 14 December 2013 as part of the Chang’e-3 Moon mission. Yutu captured photographs in stunning HD quality, displaying the rocky lunar surface, rover tracks and remarkable rock formations.
The rover became motionless on 25 January 2014 – just 42 days into a three-month mission – due to technical glitches. The main problem was that it was unable to replenish its solar power supplies. Despite this problem, the Yutu’s tools continued to work, letting it to record data and take these astonishing pictures from a stationary position.
Unlike NASA or the European Space Agency, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) is comparatively secretive, and doesn’t often issue images of this kind. The CNSA’s website is also objectively difficult to use – and is completely in Chinese – so statements and stories don’t typically get much attention.
Luckily for us, and space fans worldwide, Emily Lakdawalla from The Planetary Society has completed the hard work and organized hundreds of the imageries into two subsets – 35 Gigabytes worth in total. Here are some of these awesome pictures: