Chang’e 3’s Jade Rabbit rover is equipped with two panoramic cameras, which are strategically placed at a specific distance apart in order to acquire high-resolution stereo images for 3D imaging. These cameras can focus from 3 meters to infinity using manual and automatic focus capability. The PanCams capture images that are used to assess lunar surface morphology and topography around the rover, as well as provide mission support, including digital terrain modeling. Images are also used by mission operators to identify safe routes and identify targets for sampling.
In addition to the PanCams, the rover features a number of engineering cameras installed on strategic positions of the rover. These include two navigation cameras on the mast and two hazard avoidance cameras on the lower front portion of the rover. Technical details of these cameras were not provided. Also mentioned as being included on the rover are an arm-mounted alpha particle X-ray spectrometer used to analyze chemical elements in rocks and soil, an infrared spectrometer to study minerals, and ground-penetrating radar to map the structure of lunar soil and crust down to several hundred feet.
The mission is designed to test new technologies, gather scientific data, and build intellectual expertise. In addition, it will scout valuable mineral resources that could one day be minded, according to BBC News.
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