State-run China Central Television showed a computer-generated image of the Chang’e 3 lander’s path as it approached the surface of the moon, explaining that for a 12-minute landing period it would have no contact with Earth. As it was just hundreds of metres away, the lander’s camera broadcast images of the moon’s surface.
The Chang’e 3’s solar panels, which are used to absorb sunlight to generate power, opened soon after Saturday evening’s landing. The Chang’e 3 will set up antennae that will transmit the first pictures back to Earth.
China’s ambitious space program is an enormous source of pride for the country, which plans to eventually land people on the moon.