First look: Chang'e lunar landing site

February 6, 2019 by Mark Robinson, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Arrows indicate position of Chang'e 4 lander on the floor of Von Kármán crater. The sharp crater behind and to the left of the landing site is 3900 meters across (12,800 feet) and 600 meters (1,970 feet) deep. (LROC NAC M1303521387LR) Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

On Jan. 3, 2019, the Chinese spacecraft Chang'e 4 safely landed on the floor of the Moon's Von Kármán crater (186 kilometer diameter, 116 miles). Four weeks later (Jan. 30, 2019), as NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter approached the crater from the east, it rolled 70 degrees to the west to snap this spectacular view looking across the floor toward the west wall.

Because LRO was 330 kilometers (205 miles) to the east of the landing site, the Chang'e 4 lander is only about two pixels across (bright spot between the two arrows), and the small rover is not detectable.

The massive mountain range in the background is the west wall of Von Kármán , rising more than 3,000 meters (9,850 feet) above the floor.

Area around lander enlarged by a factor of two relative to the native pixel scale, bright speck between two arrows is the lander. The large crater in the center (just right and below arrows) is about 440 meters (1,440 feet) across. (LROC NAC M1303521387LR) Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

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