Lunar and Planetary Institute
Lunar and Planetary Institute



China’s Chang’e-1 Captures Its First Image of the Moon

November 27, 2007

China's first picture of the Moon captured by Chang'e-1.
This file photo released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on November 26, 2007, shows China's first picture of the Moon captured by Chang'e-1.
Credit: Xinhua

On Monday, November 26, China published its first picture of the Moon captured by the Chang'e-1 lunar probe, the nation’s first Moon exploration mission.

Scientific objectives of the lunar mission include providing a three-dimensional survey of the Moon’s surface, analyzing the abundance and distribution of elements on the lunar surface, and investigating the characteristics of lunar regolith and the powdery soil layer on the surface.

The area covered by the photograph, about 460 kilometers in length and 280 kilometers in width, is located within 54° to 70° south latitude and 57° to 83° east longitude, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Data were collected on November 20 and 21, transmitted back to Earth, and then processed into the three-dimensional photo composed of 19 images, each covering a width of 60 kilometers of the Moon’s surface. The far right of the picture was the first area to be captured by the CCD camera onboard Chang'e-1.

Chang’e-1 is carrying eight probe-type pieces of equipment, including a stereo camera and interferometer, imager and gamma/X-ray spectrometer, laser altimeter, microwave detector, high-energy solar particle detector, and low-energy ion detector.

The lunar probe represents a third milestone in China's space exploration program, following the success of manmade satellites and manned space flights. "[The] Chinese people’s dream of flying to the Moon for more than 1,000 years has started to materialize," said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in a passionate speech. Hailing China as one of the few world powers capable of conducting a deep-space probe, Wen further explained that "[the photograph] showcases eloquently that the Chinese people have the will, the ambition, and the capability to compose more shining new chapters while ascending the science and technology summit."

The satellite will continue in its orbit for one year.

For more information, visit:

China Publishes First Moon Picture

China Daily:  China’s Moon Exploration Program

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Last updated January 29, 2008