Chang'e 4 Featured Site Now Available

Image of the new Chang'e 4 Zoomable Traverse view from the Featured Sites section of the LROC website.
The new Chang'e 4 Zoomable Traverse Featured Site showing the lander, Yutu 2 rover track, and noted locations with dates since the mission's soft landing on the farside of the Moon in 2019.

The Chang'e 4 landing site was recently added to the Featured Sites section of the LROC website! The new site includes Flipbook and Zoomable Traverse sections and a new option to alternate the Flipbook sorting order. Users can now toggle the interactive image library between the default local solar time to the newly added chronological order, making it easier to follow robotic rovers like Yutu 2 as it progresses over time.

Since the successful landing of Chang'e 4 on the farside of the Moon in 2019, The Yutu 2 rover has been busy exploring Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. Chang'e 4 (e.g., ch-AANG-uh), named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon, and the Yutu 2 (e.g., EE-too) rover, or Jade Rabbit, are equipped with several scientific instruments for taking measurements, imaging the environment, performing experiments, and communicating data back to earth via the Queqiao relay satellite. Yutu 2 was deployed approximately 12 hours after landing and went into hibernation for its first lunar night (~14 Earth days). During the lunar days, LROC and LRO have taken ample opportunity to observe Chang'e 4 mission progress whenever possible, watching as Yutu 2 traverses west and north from the Chang'e 4 landing site (Statio Tianhe), with a few stops and backtracks along the way. 

Image from above of the Chang'e 4 landing site with Yutu 2 rover tracks highlighted and labels for the lander and rover.
The Chang'e 4 landing site located in Von Kármán crater, South Pole–Aitken basin on the lunar farside with clearly visible and labeled lander, Yutu 2 rover, and rover tracks. The rover tracks have been highlighted to appear more visible. LROC NAC Image M1370616052.

Scientists from the United States and China spoke regularly leading up to and after the Chang'e 4 landing, making the mission the first United States-China collaboration since 2011. Even though LRO wasn't in the correct position for LROC to image the Chang'e 4 soft landing, LROC has taken almost 40 NAC images of the site and hardware since. These images show the landing site in great detail and under multiple lighting conditions, which is what the Flipbook is all about! Experience these exploration sites throughout a lunar day (Timelapse 1) or by following the progress of the Yutu 2 rover (Timelapse 2).

LROC NAC images of Chang'e 4 landing site and Yutu 2 rover ordered by local solar time and animated to create a timelapse by sun angle.
Timelapse 1. A time of day ordered (by local solar time) animation of the Chang'e 4 landing site composed of 31 LROC NAC images to create a lunar day timelapse. The Chang'e 4 lander can be seen in the lower right and the rover can be seen in instances along its traverse west and north from the lander.
Thirty-one LROC NAC images of the Chang'e 4 landing site and Yutu 3 rover traverse ordered by capture date and animated to create a traverse timelapse.
Timelapse 2. A chronologically ordered (by image capture date) animation of the Chang'e 4 landing site composed of 31 LROC NAC images to create a Yutu 2 rover traverse timelapse. The Yutu 2 rover and progress has been highlighted to ease visual tracking.

In addition to Flipbook, explore the Chang'e 4 Zoomable Traverse, a zoomable image of the Chang'e 4 landing site, and Yutu 2 rover progress. Zoomable Traverses give users more control over our standard Zoomify images (below) by including informational labels and interchangeable basemaps that show lighting changes, elevation, and slope.

Check our Featured Sites section often as LROC and LRO continue to track Yutu 2 rover progress and expand our data of currently operating missions in addition to our suite of Apollo landing sites updates as we approach anniversaries and milestones.

Related posts:
On the Farside!
Chang'e 4 Lander Coordinates
First Look: Chang'e 4
Chang'e 4 Rover Comes into View
Above the Landing Site
Chang'e 4 Rover on the Move
Topographic Map of the Chang'e 4 Site
Yutu 2 Still on the Move!
Keeps on Roving!

Published by Rick Hoppe on 30 March 2022