As reported by cnet,
China’sis making the most of its short stay on the moon. The spacecraft sent back a massive panoramic view from its post on a lunar plain of relatively young volcanic moon rock.
The image above is just about half of the full high-resolution shot, which shows both distant hills from the lander’s vantage point and also how the feet of the craft dug into the soft, gravel-like surface of the moon upon touchdown Tuesday. (Download the whole file here.) Zooming in around the foot of the lander in particular provides a real sense of the desolate, dry, desert-like terrain.
Images purported to be from the mission have also been shared on Chinese social media showing hundreds of images taken during the descent and landing stitched together into a single time-lapse video:
The Chang’e 5 mission aims to use a drill and robotic arm on the lander to collect soil and rock samples that will then be loaded into an ascent vehicle for transport to a waiting orbiter that will bring them back home.
Other video clips from Chinese media making the rounds show the lander’s robotic arm and drill already hard at work.
The entire operational phase of the mission on the surface of the moon is set to last only a few days, with blastoff of the ascent module expected later in the week and the sample’s return to Earth coming in mid-December.