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China’s Chang’e-1 Lunar Orbiter Impacts Moon, Ending 2007 Mission March 1, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Base Race, Chang'e, China.
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Diagram of the impact from China Daily

Today at around 4:13pm Beijing time, China’s 2007-launched Chang’e-1 lunar orbiter ended its mission with a controlled impact on the lunar surface (meant as both a disposal and a test descent for future, lander missions).

The Chang’e-1, which produced notable imagery (including a complete map image of the lunar surface—click here for a humongous file of that from SpaceRef), is the first of three stages of the Chang’e program–the second phase is a rover that will land on the lunar surface and collect samples, with the third stage (~2017) being a lunar rover that will bring/launch the mineral samples back to Earth.

I’ve embedded below a video highlighting all three stages of the Chang’e program. The video has a lot of spectacular rendered imagery, some of the best space-related animation I’ve seen; check it out:

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