High-resolution moon map published

High-resolution moon map published

China on Feb. 6 published a full coverage map of the moon, as well as several high-resolution images of the celestial body, captured by the country’s second moon orbiter, the Chang’e-2, xinhuanet.com reported.

The map and images, released by the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND), are the highest-resolution photos of the entirety of the moon’s surface to be published thus far, said Liu Dongkui, deputy chief commander of China’s lunar probe project.

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

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

If there were airports and harbors on the moon, the Chang’e-1 could simply identify them, while the Chang’e-2 would be able to detect planes or ships inside of them, said Tong Qingxi, an academic from the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The scientists also spotted traces of the previous Apollo mission in the images, said Yan Jun, chief application scientist for China’s lunar exploration project.

Several countries have obtained lunar images with higher resolution, but have not published full-coverage images of the moon with a resolution of seven meters or greater, as China has done, Tong said.