[FPSPACE] Chang'e-2 -- why the silence?

Geert Sassen geert at navtools.nl
Tue Jan 8 05:41:23 EST 2013

As far as I know several pictures have been taken, at least one more,
close-up, picture was shown on Chinese TV and probably there are more.

Other instrumentation was not activated, as has been stated in several
media. In fact, the pictures were taken with one of the engineering
camera's (the one which was originally used to picture the deployment
sequence of the solar panels). The real observation camera in the science
package was not used as this is a push-broom type of camera (like most
similar camera's) which would have required the whole spacecraft to slew in
order to make correct images (as Mars Express did during Phobos
encounters). This is a more complicated manoeuvre and would have resulted
in only one or two pictures at the very most, and even then only if they
managed to pinpoint the target good enough to get it into the camera view.
Using the engineering camera was a 'quick and dirty' method of getting
images, but it did require a very close passage as this camera was
obviously never intended for tele-shots of faraway targets.

As I see it, the whole encounter was primarily a engineering-test for
similar missions in the future, not much science results were expected.


Geert Sassen.

On Tuesday, January 8, 2013, James Oberg wrote:

> **
> So, a month after a sensationally-impressive asteroid fly-by, and not
> another peep out of the Chinese news media? ONE photograph returned, no
> other instrumentation active? Even then it's worth celebrating rather than
> forgetting about completely.
> What are we missing?

Geert Sassen
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