China’s Chang’e-5 probe beams high-res color panoramic of the Moon’s surface

China’s National Space Administration has released color video footage from its Luna probe approaching and landing on the surface of the Moon. The Chang’e-5 craft filmed its own touch-down at the beginning of a two-day mission to collect samples of rock and soil on and 2m below the surface of the moon before rejoining the a re-entry module that is orbiting 200km above it.

This is the 15,000 pixel wide stitched panoramic taken by the Chang’e-5’s on-board camera. Click to enlarge.

As well as the video of the landing the CNSA has released a high-resolution color panoramic stitched image of the Moon’s surface, but like many photographers shooting with a wide angle the probe included its own foot in the frame. The picture measures 15,000×7947 pixels and shows masses of detail.

As the probe approached the Moon it paused at an altitude of 100m to film the potential landing area while looking for obstacles, and then carried on recording as it made its landing. Video released by the agency shows mostly monochromatic footage of the landing, but color recordings of the drill breaking the surface and collected materials being placed into a storage container. If successful this will be the first time samples from the Moon have been brought back to Earth in 44 years. The aim is to recover 2kg of samples and land them back on Earth in the middle of this month.

The probe was launched aboard a heavy-lift rocket called Long March 5 from China’s Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on November 24th. For more information see the China National Space Administration website.