China’s space agency has unveiled a unique detailed map illustrating the best view of the lunar surface ever seen by a Chinese spacecraft.
The map is made up of high-resolution photos taken by China’s second lunar probe, Chang’e 2 orbiter, which have been stitched together into a complete view.
“The Chang’e 2 lunar map is the highest-resolution view of the moon ever recorded,” said deputy chief commander of China’s lunar probe project Liu Dongkui.
While other spacecrafts, such as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, have taken photos of certain portions of the moon, the Chang’e 2 map is presenting the most detailed view of the entire lunar surface, he added.
The new map includes the photos skimmed over the moon surface at altitudes of between 9 and 62 miles between October 2010 and May 2011.
The photos have a resolution of about 23 feet and are 17 times sharper than those taken by China’s first lunar orbiter, Chang’e 1.
China spent USD 132 million on Chang’e 2 mission in October 2011 to follow Chang’e 1 program launched in 2007. China’s space agency plans to launch the Chang’e 3 spacecraft in 2013.
China’s lunar exploration efforts are part of a three-phase program named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess Chang’e.
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