NASA’s LRO Spots China’s Chang’e 6 Spacecraft on Lunar Far Side

NASA’s LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) imaged China’s Chang’e 6 sample return spacecraft on the far side of the Moon on June 7. Chang’e 6 landed on June 1, and when LRO passed over the landing site almost a week later, it acquired an image showing the lander on the rim of an eroded, 55-yard-diameter (about […]

Jun 14, 2024 - 14:00
 0
NASA’s LRO Spots China’s Chang’e 6 Spacecraft on Lunar Far Side
Techatty All-in-1 Publishing
Techatty All-in-1 Publishing
A black and white image of the surface of the Moon taken from NASA's LRO showing a white dot that is China's Chang'e 6 lander in the Apollo basin.
This image from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows China’s Chang’e 6 lander in the Apollo basin on the far side of the Moon on June 7, 2024. The lander is the bright dot in the center of the image. The image is about 0.4 miles wide (650 meters); lunar north is up.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

NASA’s LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) imaged China’s Chang’e 6 sample return spacecraft on the far side of the Moon on June 7. Chang’e 6 landed on June 1, and when LRO passed over the landing site almost a week later, it acquired an image showing the lander on the rim of an eroded, 55-yard-diameter (about 50 meters) crater. 

The LRO Camera team computed the landing site coordinates as about 42 degrees south latitude, 206 degrees east longitude, at an elevation of about minus 3.27 miles (minus 5,256 meters).

A black and white gif of two images of the Moon's surface before and after Chang'e 6 landed on the surface. A scale line for 100m is in the bottom right. The second image is slightly brighter around the landing site.
This before and after animation of LRO images shows the appearance of the Chang’e 6 lander. The increased brightness of the terrain surrounding the lander is due to disturbance from the lander’s engines and is similar to the blast zone seen around other lunar landers. The before image is from March 3, 2022, and the after image is from June 7, 2024.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

The Chang’e 6 landing site is situated toward the southern edge of the Apollo basin (about 306 miles or 492 km in diameter, centered at 36.1 degrees south latitude, 208.3 degrees east longitude). Basaltic lava erupted south of Chaffee S crater about 3.1 billion years ago and flowed downhill to the west until it encountered a local topographic high, likely related to a fault. Several wrinkle ridges in this region have deformed and raised the mare surface. The landing site sits about halfway between two of these prominent ridges. This basaltic flow also overlaps a slightly older flow (about 3.3 billion years old), visible further west, but the younger flow is distinct because it has higher iron oxide and titanium dioxide abundances.

Talk to Techatty
Talk to Techatty
Map of the Moon's surface with a 20 km scale. Chaffee, Chaffee S, and Chaffee F craters are labeled in the upper left of the image and the Chang'e 6 Landing Site is a white dot in the center labeled with an arrow.
A regional context map of the Chang’e 6 landing site. Color differences have been enhanced for clarity. The dark area is a basaltic mare deposit; bluer areas of the mare are higher-titanium flows. Contour lines marking 100-meter (about 328 feet) elevation intervals are overlaid to provide a sense of the topography. Image is about 118 miles (190 km) across.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Launched on June 18, 2009, LRO has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the Moon. NASA is returning to the Moon with commercial and international partners to expand human presence in space and bring back new knowledge and opportunities.

Media Contact:
Nancy N. Jones
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Share

Details

Last Updated
Jun 14, 2024
Editor
Madison Olson
Contact
Location
Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is America’s civil space program and the global leader in space exploration. The agency has a diverse workforce of just under 18,000 civil servants, and works with many more U.S. contractors, academia, and international and commercial partners to explore, discover, and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.