Chinese robot moon rover sends back first images

Dec. 17, 2013
China’s Jade Rabbit rover has transmitted its first captured images back to Earth. The Jade Rabbit rover and its lander feature a UV telescope, an EUV camera, five panoramic cameras, four nav cameras, a descent camera, an IR spectrometer, an X-ray spectrometer, and ground-penetrating radar.

China’s Jade Rabbit rover, the third unmanned rover mission to land on the moon and the first in 40 years, has transmitted its first captured images back to Earth.

The image above shows a show of the lunar probe from the Rover, and another image (on page 2) sent back shows the rover from the probe. As part of the Chang'e 3 lunar exploration mission, the six-wheeled Jade Rabbit is designed to explore an area of 3 square kilometers (1.2 square miles) during a three-month mission, according to BBC News.

Both the lander and the rover are equipped with a number of optical instruments which enable the capturing of images on the lunar surface. On the lander, a 150 mm (5.9 in) lunar-based ultraviolet telescope will be used to observe galaxies, stars, and more, in the near-UV band from 245-340 nm. The telescope featured a CCD image sensor with a 13 µm x 13 µm pixel size. It also features an extreme ultraviolet camera designed for making observations in the extreme ultraviolent band to observe Earth’s plasmasphere. The camera has a field of view of 15°, a high angular resolution of 0.1°, and a temporal resolution of 10 minutes. It utilizes a multi-membrane optical system and a EUV photon counter sensor as its image detector.

In addition, the lander is equipped with three panoramic cameras facing different directions. Technical information on the lander cameras was not provided, but the instruments are noted as being capable of capturing images as well as video. In addition to these cameras, the lander is equipped with a single descent camera. This micro-CMOS camera provides images of 1,280 x 1,024 pixels at a frame rate of more than 10 fps.

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About the Author

James Carroll

Since joining the team 2013, James covered machine vision and imaging from numerous angles, including application stories, industry news, market updates, and new products. In addition to writing and editing articles for each issue of the magazine, James managed the Innovators Awards program and webcasts.

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