Monday, December 16, 2013

Chang'e 3 Landing Video with the Moon Below

This video shows the Change'e 3 spacecraft's landing on the moon, filmed from the spacecraft. It starts slow, with the lunar surface slowly sliding beneath the spacecraft and mountains rising above the lunar horizon in the distance. It may take you a minute or two to notice the horizon rising slowly higher in the field of view as the spacecraft begins its descent. At 2:53 the sky rises out of view as the angle of descent steepens.

Things get more interesting at about 5:10, as descent stops and the lander hovers while choosing the best landing site. At 5:59 you first see the landing jets stirring the surface below.

But here's what I find really interesting. The official Chinese broadcasts of this footage showed the lunar surface above the spacecraft's field of view, not below, because that's how the cameras happened to be pointing as the spacecraft followed its ballistic trajectory. An amateur (and I use the word in praise) using the handle SpaceOperaFR has taken the effort to rectify the video so that the bottom of the screen points towards the pull of gravity. I thank you, whoever you are.

In the future in which we will spend the rest of our lives, an army of amateurs can be a powerful thing. Not for every task, but enough to do good service in many.

I would love to watch this with a Blue Danube soundtrack.

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