Updates "Hi Artemis, it's been a long time!": China's Chang'e 3 lunar landing mission

Soheil_Esy

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China's Yutu rover reveals Moon's "complex" geological history

China's Yutu rover reveals Moon's "complex" geological history

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-3-13 11:07:20

The moon's geological history is more complex than previously thought, preliminary results from China's first lunar rover, Yutu, suggested Thursday.

Ground-penetrating radar measurements taken by Yutu, also known as Jade Rabbit, revealed at least nine subsurface layers beneath its landing site, indicating that multiple geologic processes have taken place there.

"We have for the first time detected multiple subsurface layers (on the moon)," said lead author Xiao Long, professor of the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, attributing these layers to ancient lava flows and the weathering of rocks and boulders into regolith, or loose layers of dust, over the past 3.3 billion years or so.

One of the most interesting findings is a layer at depths of 140 meters to 240 meters, said Xiao, who is also professor of Macau University of Science and Technology.

"We think this layer is probably pyroclastic rocks which formed during the course of volcanic eruptions," Xiao told Xinhua via email. "It reveals the diversity of volcanic activity, but what's more important is that it shows there are plenty of volatile contents inside the moon."

Yutu is part of China's Chang'e-3 moon mission, which delivered the rover and a stationary lander to the lunar surface on Dec. 14, 2013, marking the first moon landing since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 mission in 1976.

It touched down on the northern Mare Imbrium, also called Sea of Rains, a region not directly sampled before and far from the U. S. Apollo and Luna landings sites.

Yutu traveled a total of 114 meters following a zigzagging route, then came to a halt about 20 meters to the southwest of the landing site due to mechanical problems.

So the rover just surveyed a small area using two radar antennas capable of penetrating the Moon's crust to depths of about 400 meters.

The data, however, were enough to show its landing site is compositionally distinct from previous Moon-landing sites, the researchers said.

"Overall, we have already had a general scientific understanding of the moon thanks to these lunar missions," Xiao said. "But if we want to have a comprehensive understanding of moon's geological structure, material composition and formation, as well as its evolution, a large number of exploration events are still needed. Meanwhile, effective international cooperation is a must considering the high cost of these activities."

The findings were published in the US journal Science.
 

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Yutu Peers Inside the Moon
Data from the Chinese Chang’E 3 lander show what’s under the lunar surface.
By Paul D. Spudis
airspacemag.com March 12, 2015 2:00PM


Although China’s lunar lander, Chang’E 3, landed on the Moon over two years ago, scientific results from its small rover Yutu are just now being published. A new paper out this week by Long Xiao and colleagues gives us a first look at the geology of a new location on the Moon. The site is on the Moon’s near side in northern Mare Imbrium, far from the Apollo and Soviet Luna landing sites. This new information (giving insights into the late volcanic history of the Moon) is surprisingly detailed.
yutu_traverse.jpg

Traverse map of the Yutu rover, showing locations where various measurements were made. Inset image shows the Chang’E 3 lander and Yutu on a high-resolution image taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Xiao et al., 2015)
 

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2013-070B (Chang'e 3 r/b): a tumbling rocket stage at one Lunar distance

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

In two posts in May (here and here) I reported on my telescopic observations of 2010-050B, the upper stage of the Chinese Chang'e 2 Lunar mission in a trans-Lunar orbit.

2013_070B_Change3rb_5jul2015_Q65_ANIM_zpstn1oe22g.gif


This is not the only one of these objects observable (and sometimes mistaken for a Near Earth Asteroid, as 2010-050B in May was). The animated GIF above, shows you 2013-070B, the upper stage of the Chang'e 3 Lunar mission, imaged on July 5th using the 0.51-meter telescope of MPC Q65 Warrumbungle in Australia. It was at a distance of about 336000 km, roughly one Lunar distance, at that time

Unlike 2010-050B, which is stable in brightness, this objects is clearly tumbling and shows a marked periodic brightness variation as a result. There is a clear saw-tooth pattern with a steep ascending slope and more shallow descending slope, an amplitude of ~2.5 magnitudes and a period of about 420-425 seconds (or ~7 minutes).

2013_070B.png


Observations of the same object from June 26 can be fitted to a very similar 7 minute period and ~2.5 magnitude amplitude, but with the descending instead of the ascending slope steeper and the ascending slope more shallow, the reverse of the July 5 observations.

The July 5 observations combined with the June 26 observations result in the following orbit for 2013-050B:
Code:
Find_Orb
Perigee 2015 Jul 8.981227 +/- 0.0143 TT = 23:32:58 (JD 2457212.481227)
Epoch 2015 Jul 6.0 TT = JDT 2457209.5 
M 298.03225 +/- 0.15 
n 20.78598673 +/- 0.0509 

a 282763.321 +/- 462 km
e 0.7243890 +/- 0.00115 
Incl. 23.49157 +/- 0.0006 deg
Peri. 40.10428 +/- 0.055 deg
Node 141.35795 +/- 0.0017 deg
  
q 77932.6554 +/- 449 km   Q 487593.987 +/- 472 km
P 17.32d

24 of 29 observations 2015 June 26-July 5; mean residual 0".577. 

Chang'e 3 rb
1 00000U         15187.00000000  .00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 05
2 00000 23.4899 141.5720 7239912 39.8984 298.3594 0.05732427 01

The orbit is more eccentric and has a smaller semi-major axis (and as a result, a perigee closer to Earth) and smaller orbital inclination than that of 2010-050B.

2013-070B and 2010-050B move in chaotic orbits: frequent close encounters with the Moon create sudden, drastic changes in eccentricity, inclination, perigee and apogee. It is possible that both objects will be ejected out of the Earth-Moon system in the future, into a Heliocentric orbit.

Below are the orbits for both objects as of July 6, 2015:

chang_e_2_3_polarorbplot_6jul15.png

chang_e_2_3_obliqueorbplot_6jul15.png


http://sattrackcam.blogspot.nl/2015/07/2013-070b-change-3-rb-tumbling-rocket.html
 

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2015 Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Supermoon Total Eclipse Report

Sep 27, 2015

Yutu Lunar Rover back on the air downlinking on 8462.046MHz - good signals! Carrier only, no sign of modulation.

CP73xNOWcAExe8I.jpg:large


Status report

YUTU lunar rover

  • Lunar Radar till 2014, January 12
  • X-ray spectrometer till 2014, January 14
  • Infrared Imaging Spectrometer till 2014, January 14
  • Panoramic camera till 2014, January 13, then no more data

Chang'e-3 Lunar lander

  • Lunar telescope till 2015, January 11
  • Ultraviolet camera till 2014, May 20
  • Panoramic camera till 2014, January 12
  • Landing camera thermostat till 2013, December 14
  • Topography camera till 2013, December 24

http://moon.bao.ac.cn/ceweb/datasrv/dmsce3.jsp
http://bbs.9ifly.cn/forum.php?mod=redirect&goto=findpost&ptid=13310&pid=375393

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praying.gif
not%20worthy.gif
:p
 
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Soheil_Esy

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China's first moon rover sets record for longest stay

2015/10/29

China's first lunar rover, Yutu, has been operating on the moon for almost two years, setting the record for the longest stay by a rover, according to a Chinese lunar probe scientist.

Yutu was deployed and landed on the moon via China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe in 2013, staying longer than the Soviet Union's 1970 moon rover Lunokhod 1, which spent 11 months on the moon.

Its operations have streamed live through Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, and its Weibo account has nearly 600,000 followers.

Yutu experienced a mechanical control abnormality in 2014, but it was revived within a month and, though it is unable to move, it continues to collect data, send and receive signals, and record images and video.

FFT of Yutu Lunar Rover's downlink signal on X-Band. LO=8GHz, IF=4xx MHz.

2:09 PM - 25 Oct 2015

CSMSLR9WEAA55PK.jpg:large


https://twitter.com/uhf_satcom/status/658389956575023105

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-10/29/c_134763460.htm
 

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November updates

YUTU Lunar Rover a great signal tonite - now with sidebands! weak but copyable. Also moved frequency to 8462.0493MHz

12:46 PM - 25 Nov 2015

CUr2IZ-WcAApG9_.jpg


https://twitter.com/uhf_satcom/status/669618119921557510

Something (a fuel leak?) happened to the Chang'e 3 booster (2013-070B) late September-early October

Monday, December 14, 2015

Over the past year I have frequently reported on my observations of very distant space junk: objects orbiting at trans-Lunar distance. One of these objects, 2013-070B, the CZ-3C upper stage of the Chinese Chang'e 3 Lunar mission from 2013, is now showing something interesting.

2013_070B_Q65_11Sep2015_stack15x.jpg

Large JPG image
flash cycle of 2013-070B on 11 Sep 2015 (click to enlarge). Stack of multiple images


2013-070B is tumbling and shows a very slow flash cycle (see various previous posts). Observations during the summer months of 2015, up to 14 September 2015, suggested a stable flash period of about 423 seconds.

But somewhere between mid-September and late October 2015, things have changed. The first indication was from this fine series of data points which Krisztián Sárneczky obtained for me on 24 October 2015, using the 0.6-m Schmidt telescope of MPC 461 (Piszkéstető station of Konkoly Observatory, Hungary):

2013_070B_24Oct2015profiel.png

Large JPG image


The flash period had suddenly dropped, to 384 seconds on 24 October 2015, and has further dropped to 364 seconds on 6 December 2015, based on a series of images I obtained with the help of Peter Starr from Warrumbungle Observatory (MPC Q65) in Australia.

2013-070B is hence suddenly tumbling at a faster speed than it used to do. The value is still dropping further, but the drop appears to be slowing down, as can be seen in the diagram below:

2013_070B_periodicity_change_2015.png

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XmsJCR0Z2...k/s1600/2013_070B_periodicity_change_2015.png


Such a sudden drop from a stable flash period to a shorter flash period can have a number of causes. A close approach to the Moon can result in a tumble periodicity change: but 2013-070B did not experience such a close approach during the relevant weeks, so that is not an explanation. The most likely explanation is that the booster developed a fuel leak.

Rocket stages always contain some remnant fuel in their tanks. Rocket fuel is often quite corrosive and slowly eats its way through the metal of the tank and booster. In addition, a meteoroid impact can puncture the rocket stage and tanks. When one of these two things happen, fuel vapor escapes from the rocket stage, and acts as a mini rocket engine, giving the object some extra momentum. This can either speed up or slow down he tumbling speed of the object.

We have seen this happen a number of times with rocket stages in Low Earth Orbit as well, and there is no reason why this could not happen to a rocket stage in a trans-Lunar orbit.

http://sattrackcam.blogspot.com/2015/12/something-fuel-leak-happened-to-change.html
No X-Band signals from the Yutu Lunar rover this evening, it should just be in sunlight so maybe tomorrow it will be on the air!

2:21 PM - 21 Dec 2015

https://twitter.com/uhf_satcom/status/679064150866292741
China's Yutu moon rover finds new kind of moon rock

23 December, 2015, 00:15

But China's rover, dubbed Chang'e-3 Yutu or Jade Rabbit, determined that these newfound rocks have a different mineral composition.

A Chinese moon lander identified a lunar rock unlike anything discovered and analyzed in the last 46 years.

The rock samples were taken from Chang'e-3's landing site in the Imbrium basin - a dark impact site filled with hardened lava that can be seen from Earth, according to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, one of the organizations that analyzed the data beamed back from the mission. The rover - which was the first explorer to land on the moon since the 1970s, if you don't count orbiters that made crash landings - is poking around a region that's been reshaped by volcanic activity relatively recently. Around 500 million years later, building heat from the decay of radioactive elements inside the moon caused melting in the mantle and led to volcanic eruptions.

Scientists think the moon formed when a large body (about the size of Mars) slammed into Earth, expelling debris from the nascent planet and forming the moon.

While the 40-year-old samples indicated either very high or very low levels of titanium with no intermediate values, Yutu found rocks with medium titanium content which were particularly rich in iron. This, in turn, hints at the fact that the Moon's volcanism changed over time.

"It tells you that everything worked well with the instruments and gives you some confidence that there will be more to come also".

Although the rover has gone silent, there is likely more data that has already been transmitted to Earth for analysis. That's important, because the order and composition of minerals in basalt can reveal the source of the magma that formed it.

"The variable titanium distribution on the lunar surface suggests that the Moon's interior was not homogenised", Jolliff said.

"We now have "ground truth" for our remote sensing, a well-characterized sample in a key location", Professor Jolliff said. "We see the same signal from orbit in other places, so we now know that those other places probably have similar basalts".

Understanding the composition of the moon could help scientists determine what happened. The find suggests the moon's make-up is more diverse than previously thought, and will help interpret future satellite-based observations.

http://timesoracle.com/2015/12/chinas-yutu-moon-rover-finds-new-kind-of-moon-rock.html
Correlated compositional and mineralogical investigations at the Chang′e-3 landing site

22 December 2015

The chemical compositions of relatively young mare lava flows have implications for the late volcanism on the Moon. Here we report the composition of soil along the rim of a 450-m diameter fresh crater at the Chang′e-3 (CE-3) landing site, investigated by the Yutu rover with in situ APXS (Active Particle-induced X-ray Spectrometer) and VNIS (Visible and Near-infrared Imaging Spectrometer) measurements. Results indicate that this region's composition differs from other mare sample-return sites and is a new type of mare basalt not previously sampled, but consistent with remote sensing. The CE-3 regolith derived from olivine-normative basaltic rocks with high FeO/(FeO+MgO). Deconvolution of the VNIS data indicates abundant high-Ca ferropyroxene (augite and pigeonite) plus Fe-rich olivine. We infer from the regolith composition that the basaltic source rocks formed during late-stage magma-ocean differentiation when dense ferropyroxene-ilmenite cumulates sank and mixed with deeper, relatively ferroan olivine and orthopyroxene in a hybridized mantle source.


ncomms9880-f1.jpg

(a) Chang'e-1 CCD image with boundaries of typical mare basalt units7. (b) Chang'e-2 CCD image and (c) LROC NAC image (LROC NAC M1142582775R). (d) The traverse map of the Yutu rover and the locations of APXS and VNIS measurements. (e) Panoramic view of the ‘Zi Wei’ crater by the Panoramic Camera on the Yutu rover at the CE3-0008 site.

ncomms9880-f3.jpg

(a) Combined VNIS spectra (450–2,400 nm) from sites 0005, 0006, 0007 and 0008. The inset image is from site CE3-0006 of the VNIS (450–950 nm) image mode at 750 nm. The dashed circle indicates the region measured by the VNIS-point spectral mode (900–2,400 nm). (b) VNIS spectra after continuum removal. (c) Pyroxene VNIS peak positions of the CE-3 soils overlain on experimental results from Adams27 and Cloutis and Gaffey28. (d) Fo values of olivine in four CE-3 soils derived from VNIS spectra, overlain on calibration lines (Sunshine and Pieters20).

ncomms9880-f2.jpg

(a) APXS spectrum CE3-0006_2 overlain on the calibration spectrum. Comparison of Chang’e-3 site surface soil samples with Apollo and Luna samples2, 17 in (b) FeO versus TiO2, (c) FeO versus MgO and (d) FeO versus CaO.

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/151222/ncomms9880/full/ncomms9880.html

What's Up in the Solar System diagram by Olaf Frohn (updated for December 2015)

20151130_solar-system-missions2015-12_f840.png


CWpeBuzUwAAJDLe.jpg


http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/space-images/charts/whats-up-in-the-solar-system-frohn.html
 
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China's rover on the moon is releasing the first true-colour HD pics of the lunar surface.

29 Jan 2016

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http://i.imgur.com/9dfK0pK.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CZ6IICaVIAIfiuw.jpg
Yutu studied the ground it rolled over, characterized the craters it cruised past and investigated an oddly coarse-textured rock dubbed Loong, which measures about 13 feet long by 5 feet high (4 by 1.5 m). Overall, the rover's observations suggest that the composition of its landing site is quite different from that of the places visited by NASA's Apollo missions and the Soviet Union's Luna program.
http://www.space.com/28810-moon-history-chinese-lunar-rover.html

Had a stab at turning some of those images into a 3D model - Posted it on Sketchfab


https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/4393y0/the_moons_surface_in_true_color_and_high/

http://moon.bao.ac.cn/multimedia/img2dce3.jsp

I caught the lander on the 27th Dec 15 - nothing seen since. Its not on air now, nor Yutu

25 Jan 2016

CZmF3_EXEAQ5Ek_.jpg

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CZmF3_EXEAQ5Ek_.jpg

https://twitter.com/uhf_satcom/status/691731215968247808

24 Jan 2016

No signals from the Yutu Lunar Rover over the past three nights - very strange considering its fully illuminated - wonder if its failed?

https://twitter.com/uhf_satcom/status/691385358936850432
 
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Wow, it's a lot browner than I thought it was.

That big boulder looks weathered (rounded edges and such); any idea why this would be? Or am I just thinking about it wrong?
 

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Wow, it's a lot browner than I thought it was.

That big boulder looks weathered (rounded edges and such); any idea why this would be? Or am I just thinking about it wrong?
...
Interesting how the rocks are all smooth around the edges...without wind or water erosion. Why is this?

  • It seems likely that boulder took millions of years to achieve its current form. It must be a combination of reducing/eroding effects on the boulder. Obviously there are the effects of meteorites/micrometeorites. But the most constant factor is likely to be radiation from the sun. The heating and cooling caused by the near direct exposure to sunlight, about a 300°C variance.


  • The moon is constantly being hit with protons from the solar wind, which ionize the surface and even react to produce H2O. http://www.space.com/27377-moon-water-origin-solar
  • I'd assume two other sources of erosion: either direct hits by cosmic debris (little general influence, I'd guess) or by thermal expansion and contraction leading to cracks and finally breakages in the rock.

  • Almost all the fine moon dust there was made by billions of years of micro meteorite impacts. Also when you bring that dust into oxygen, it rapidly oxidizes and smells like gunpowder apparently.


https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/4393y0/the_moons_surface_in_true_color_and_high/
 

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