It’s been almost a day since China landed its first robotic lander on the Moon. The lander has since deployed the rover on the moon’s surface. And in a little over two hours, both are going to begin taking pictures of each other and will beam them back to Earth. How will this be achieved and what are the steps that will be followed?
The Chang’e lander and Yutu rover are readying to take pictures of each other.
This will be the first time, people on Earth will see what the two lunar explorers look like on the lunar surface.
It has been one of the most anticipated tasks of the mission since the lander and rover separated.
The rover Yutu will move to five different locations to capture images of Chang’e-3 from different angles.
The lander will rotate its on board camera to click pictures of Yutu from different angles...all while staying in the same location.
Each picture will also show the lunar background.
Jia Yang, Deputy Chief Engineer, Chang'e-3, said, "The lander and the rover will take pictures of each other about 10 meters apart. As the separation was completed in the morning hours, the rover will follow the track on the right circle of the lander so that the lander is better illuminated in the photos."
The 10 meter walk from the lander will take Yutu about two hours due to the bumpy and uneven surface of the Moon. The entire process of capturing five images will take up to 20 hours to complete.
Yutu will take two pictures of the front side of Chang’E 3. This is the side where the Chinese national flag is painted. One of the pictures will be taken from ten meters away, while the other will be clicked from a distance of 18 meters.
"The moving path designed for Yutu is a half circle. Pictures will be taken firstly from the back of the lander, and then the side and then the front." Jia said.
The camera on the moon lander has been working since the soft landing was achieved.
It can film ten frames per second real-time video and transmit it to Earth. The rover carries a panoramic camera, capable of surviving three ultra-cold lunar nights; the equivalent of three Earth months.
After taking pictures of Chang’E-3, Yutu will leave the landing site and start a three-month excursion on the moon.