Stunning Image Of Moon's Rear Side Captured By Chinese Satellite

Olive Hawkins
February 7, 2019

A Chinese satellite swooped behind the moon and snapped a shot of two worlds: the heavily-cratered moon, and in the distance, the cloud-covered planet Earth.

It lost its twin satellite Longjiang-1 back in May 2018 when it spun off and lost contact with the Chinese National Space Administration back on Earth.

"Longjiang-2, also known as DSLWP-B, is one of two microsatellites China launched to the moon a year ago to prepare for the arrival of its Chang'e 4 lander-rover combo mission, which touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3".

Chinese spacecraft Chang'e 4 made history when it became the first manmade vessel to land on the far side of the moon earlier this month.

DSLWP-B is a micro-satellite built by Chinese astronomers.

During the Chang'e-4 landing, DSLWP-B remained silent for some days to avoid interfering with the communication between the ground controllers and the Chang'e-4 lander.

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The Longjiang-2 satellite entered the Moon's orbit in June 2018 and was launched along with China's Queqiao communications probe, which has been critical for the country's recent Chang'e-4 lunar lander.

Queqiao and Longjiang-2 are still orbiting the moon, though, so we'll likely see many more stunning images of our closest neighbor in the future.

The probe has since been re-activated and started taking a time-lapse of the Earth-Moon system on 3 February. The tiny satellite is capable of carrying out some complex scientific studies through space.

The Dutch Dwingeloo Radio Telescope in the Netherlands downloaded it at the agonising speed of less than one kilobyte per minute.

Full colour adjusted images captured throughout the process are available on Cess Bassa's blog post.

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