China releases 'world's highest' resolution images of Moon

China today released a set of "world's highest resolution" lunar images taken by its second moon orbiter, Chang'e-2, as it braces to launch its next mission to land a rover to explore its surface.

China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND today published a set of full coverage map of the Moon and its images with a resolution of seven meters captured by Chang'e-2.

The map and images are the world's highest-resolution lunar images ever published that cover all of the moon, state runs Xinhua news agency quoted Liu Dongkui, deputy chief commander of China's lunar probe project.

The images were photographed by a charge-coupled device (CCD) stereo camera on Chang'e-2 from the heights of 100 km and 15 km over the lunar surface between October 2010 and May 2011, the SASTIND statement said.

The resolution of the images obtained from Chang'e-2 is 17 times finer than those taken by the its predecessor Chang'e-1.

If there were airports and harbors on the moon, the Chang'e-1 could just identify them while Chang'e-2 could detect the planes or ships in them, Tong Qingxi, academician with the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

The scientists also made some adjustments to the original data to more accurately reflect the topographic and geomorphologic features of the moon, a statement by SASTIND said.
The scientists have produced 746 moon pictures with the resolution of seven meters, and the total volume of data is about 800 GB, the statement said.

Change-2, named after the mythical Moon Goddess is still in orbit and drifted to the second Lagrange Point (L2) in space more than 1.5 million kms away from Earth after completing its moon mission.

According to the new road map China plans to launch a third moon mission, Change-3 to deploy rovers to explore the lunar surface besides sending a probe to Mars next year and to Venus by 2015.

It is also in the process of setting up its own manned space station and a Global Position System of its own.

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