The photograph, by the Xinhua News Agency (China’s official press agency), is found at the ChinaDaily webpage entitled “China publishes first moon picture taken by Chang'e I."
China’s first attempt to orbit the Moon is heralded a success as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao proudly displays his country’s first photograph of the Moon at the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center.
The black-and-white photograph taken by the charge-coupled device (CCD) stereo camera onboard Chang’e is described as showing a rough lunar surface with scattered craters of various sizes. The area shown in the image is located within a region of 54-to-70 degrees south latitude and 57-to-83 degrees east longitude. The size of area is about 285 miles (460 kilometers) in length and 175 miles (280 kilometers) in width.
According to Xinhau, from the website of ChinaDaily, “The area pictured is part of the moon’s highland and is mainly composed of plagioclase, a common rock-forming element. On the surface are craters of different sizes, shapes, structures and ages.” [ChinaDaily]
The website continues to state, “The dark patch in the picture’s upper right side shows the surface blanketed by basalt, a hard and dense volcanic rock.” [ChinaDaily]
Chinese Premier Wen stated the emotions felt by him and his fellow citizens, "Chinese people's dream of flying to the moon for more than 1,000 years has started to materialize," [ChinaDaily]
Wen continues, "It 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," [ChinaDaily]
Chang’e 1 is part of China’s first phase of its Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. The first phase is called “orbiting,” or chang’e, which is also the name of the Chinese goddess of the moon. Designed to orbit the Moon for about one year, the spacecraft weighs 5,180 pounds (2,350 kilograms) on Earth. The CCD camera has a resolution of 160 meters. Its spectrometer imager ranges from 0.48 micrometer to 0.96 micrometer in wavelength.
More information about Chang’e 1 and the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) is found at: China CLEP (http://www.clep.org.cn/) and NASA Solar System Exploration (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/profile.cfm?MCode=CHANGE1).