Pyramid Rock, as named by the Chinese. This rock was ejected when the crater immediately behind it was created. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences/China National Space Administration/The Science and Application Centre for Moon and Deep Space Exploration/Emily Lakdawalla.

China has released hundreds of images of the moon, taken by its Chang'e 3 lander and its companion rover, Yutu. It's been 50 years since the first lunar photos were taken by astronauts on NASA's Apollo 11 mission. China is the third nation to land on the Moon, with the USA and the USSR preceding them.

Even though the Yutu rover's engine failed after a short time on the , the mission's camera systems have captured hundreds of images.

Thanks to the of Emily Lakdawalla at The Planetary Society, who wrestled with a somewhat cumbersome Chinese website, and stitched some of these images together, we can get a first-hand look at what Chang'e 3 and Yutu were up to.

Here are some of our favourites.

  • This is a 360 degree panoramic image of the rover and part of the lander. Bright white rocks litter the rim of the crater on the left. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences/China National Space Administration/The Science and Application Centre for Moon and Deep Space Exploration/Emily Lakdawalla.

  • The Yutu lander looks at its tracks in the lunar soil. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences/China National Space Administration/The Science and Application Centre for Moon and Deep Space Exploration/Emily Lakdawalla.

  • This image shows a lot of detail of the Yutu rover. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences/China National Space Administration/The Science and Application Centre for Moon and Deep Space Exploration/Emily Lakdawalla.

  • This image shows the Yutu rover leaving the lander area and making its way on the lunar surface. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences/China National Space Administration/The Science and Application Centre for Moon and Deep Space Exploration/Emily Lakdawalla.

Source: Universe Today