History-Making Chinese Spacecraft Spotted by NASA's Moon Orbiter

The last time a human set foot on the moon was in 1972. Image credit- Pexels licensed under CC0

DSLWP-B is a micro-satellite built by Chinese astronomers.

The satellite, which has been in orbit since June 2018, took the photo after switching back on after a radio quiet period. Yet it needs the Queqiao satellite to be located in a stable position near the Moon, where it sends radio signals from both Longjiang-2 and the Chang'e-4 lander to Earth.

Now, thanks to China's efforts to learn as much as possible about the least-studied side of the Moon, we have a brand new view of it.

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China's space agency launched Queqiiao to enable communication between the ground controllers and the Chang'e-4 spacecraft, which it landed on the "dark side" of the Moon last month. The tiny satellite took handsome pictures of the Moon after reaching lunar orbit in June 2018, but in early January 2019, as the CNSA was carefully monitoring the landing of Chang'e-4, it invoked a radio-quiet period to minimise interference, according to CAMRAS, which manages the Dwingeloo Radio telescope in the northeastern Netherlands. However, the tiny satellite became active again on 13th January 2019. The first image from this timelapse was downloaded with the Dwingeloo telescope on February 4, 2019.

The probe has since been re-activated and started taking a time-lapse of the Earth-Moon system on 3 February. The image, which was captured by the Longjiang-2 satellite that was sent skyward past year, even features Earth photobombing scene in the background.

Full colour adjusted images captured throughout the process are available on Cess Bassa's blog post.

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