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China's Chang E'2 - discrepancies between Chinese and American lunar probe imagery

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China's Chang E'2 - discrepancies between Chinese and American lunar probe imagery

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 4:06 pm

LunaCognita wrote:So, I have been taking a closer look at this Chang'E 2 lunar footage that was shot a couple months ago and was recently released by the CNSA, and there are definitely some interesting things that I have noticed. I am thinking of perhaps putting together a video presentation on some of this evidence as well, but also think it is worthwhile posting up a few things here so we can discuss it. Here is one example of a visual contradiction between the American lunar probe imagery and the new Chinese lunar footage shot by the Engineering Camera aboard their Chang'E 2 probe.

All of these images/framegrabs I show below are cropped to focus on the same area of the far side lunar surface - centered around 47 degrees latitude and -114 (245e) degrees longitude. This first image below I am using as the "locator" image, and it comes from NASA's Lunar Orbiter V mission, labeled to show the features in question that I will be referencing. This image (frame LOV-010-M) is oriented here so that lunar south is up and lunar north is down. The three primary craters we see side by side here are (from left to right) "Rynin", "Stefan", and "Wegener". The arrow on the left is pointing to a bizarre and obvious "gash" that cuts across the eastern high albedo rim of the crater "Rynin", with the other arrow on the right pointing to what I believe is actually a large vertical structure/tower. Again, this is lunar far side imagery, so keep in mind we are talking about a region of the Moon that is not visible through terrestrial-based telescopes.

Locator graphic for Rynin, Stefan and Wegener

During NASA's Lunar Orbiter V mission in 1967, we are told the spacecraft shot over a dozen images that captured this particular region of the lunar far side around and including these three craters, targeting the area with both the 610-mm (24-inch) telephoto (HR) camera and the 80-mm wide angle (MR) camera from altitudes between 2650 to over 5000 kms. During the Lunar Orbiter V mission, it looks like NASA were running the spacecraft's programmable exposure system to shoot a series of eight exposures in order to catch this particular region of the Moon when the spacecraft was roughly 2650 kilometers altitude, then several more frames when the spacecraft was between 5000 and 5700 kms altitude (both MR and HR images).

The next few images shown below are several more of these Lunar Orbiter V frames, also cropped closely to show this exact same trio of craters. No enhancements or anything here - just close crops of the large raw archive frames. In this next example, note the way the slicing obfuscation NASA claims was caused by the on-board film developing unit cuts through the region, resulting in the "tower" formation on the right appearing split and offset slightly.

Here is another LO-V example (LOV-014-H3), with the region being presented to us with a more oblique perspective.


Now, in every image of this region taken by American Lunar Orbiter or DSPSE probes, that gash line on the left that you see cutting across the high albedo eastern crater rim of "Rynin" is BLATANTLY visible. This "gash" is also clearly described in the selenologic literature about this region of the Moon published over the years in an attempt to naturally account for it. Here is the basic "geologic/selenologic" interpretation of what we are supposedly seeing here.

Selenologic description of this shadow/gash that is clearly visible cutting through "Rynin".
"Along the eastern side is a long, dagger-shaped gash that cuts through the rim and inner wall to reach the interior floor. This gash is connected to a crater formation just outside the eastern edge of Rynin."

Tight Crop of "Rynin" from Lunar Orbiter V HR frame 006-H1, showing the gash in eastern (left side) crater wall

The next image is actually a pair of frames I have stitched together into a mosaic to allow the FOV to cover the same area in question. These are nadir shots from the DSPSE Clementine basemap archives (2000nm), shot back in 1994, looking straight down at this same trio of craters. The gash line on the crater "Rynin" (on the left) is blatantly visible slicing through the crater rim. The "tower" feature below Wegener is however not nearly as visible as it appears in the Lunar Orbiter V probe imagery. Also note that the shadow/illumination conditions and apparent perspective, though differing from the Lunar Orbiter V series, still allow for the gash to be blatantly visible.

DSPSE Clementine Nadir Basemap (2000nm) showing Rynin, Stefan, and Wegener

SIDESTACK close crops showing similar perspectives of "Rynin" crater from LO-V and DSPSE

Back on October 8th of this year, China's Chang'E 2 lunar probe also overflew and filmed this region of the lunar far side, and the CNSA has recently released some footage of one of these orbital passes. This particular scene was shot by the "Engineering Camera" aboard Chang'E 2 during the spacecraft's first "Orbital Trim Maneuver".
Here is a link to the Chinese release of this footage.

Here below are three framegrabs from the Chang'E 2 probe footage that provide us another look at this trio of craters - Rynin, Stefan, and Wegener. These images have been rotated 90 degrees to offer the same perspective as the Lunar Orbiter V frames.

In this third framegrab below, although the spacecraft's thruster has now blocked over most of Stefan and Wegener, Rynin is still fully visible on the left.

Notice how the bizarre "gash" on the left that is supposed to be clearly visible cutting through the rim of the crater "Rynin" is missing entirely, even though EVERY American probe image of this region ever taken shows the "gash" CLEARLY. Why is the Chinese video missing any evidence of this feature? Judging by it's blatant visibility in every American frame of this area, it definitely should be detectable in the Chinese footage, should it not? I do not think it is a case of natural "shadow hiding" effect due to viewing perspective going on here that is causing the "gash" to become invisible. I do not think the "gash" is actually a feature cut into the lunar surface at all.

Here is a simple sidestack crop of the crater "Rynin", showing a comparison between the Lunar Orbiter V probe version and the look Chang'E 2 gave us.

Same comparison, rotated 180 degrees

Here is the link to the Lunar Orbiter V thumbnail gallery page if you want to have a look at all the NASA imagery shot by that probe. Many of the first frames (from 5006 to 5026) show this region from standoff ranges, and again, the DoD's DSPSE Clementine probe imagery appears to show this gash blatantly cutting through "Rynin" as well.

I personally have never believed that there was actually a "gash" in the lunar surface cutting through the crater Rynin, which is why it is not visible in the Chinese footage like it should be (according to the NASA/DoD frames). I do not think that the Chinese footage is entirely clean and truthful with us either by the way, as I see the same perspective/projection games being played by them here that the Americans (and Russians) have employed since day one on their lunar imagery datasets in order to hide the presence of verticality from us. All I wanted to do with this first post however is just point out what I consider to be a visual discrepancy between the NASA/DoD frames of this region and the recent footage shot by Chang'E 2.

I will work on putting together another post with some basic example imagery that will try to give a better explanation of what I mean by these "perspective games" (which I believe have long been a vital aspect of the lunar surface imagery sanitizing process) in order to show what I think this "gash" (and that "tower" I also highlighted) is really all about. I believe there is a very good reason we do not see the "gash" in the Chinese footage, and it is not a "natural" selenologic reason either. Even without getting into that aspect of all this for now, I still figured I would post this up to highlight the apparent lack of a visible "gash" in the eastern rim of Rynin in the footage from Chang'E 2.



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Re: China's Chang E'2 - discrepancies between Chinese and American lunar probe imagery

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 4:07 pm

LunaCognita wrote:It definitely is bizarre, isn't it? No matter what perspective I approach any of the NASA/DoD imagery from, I cannot see how this "gash" in the eastern rim of "Rynin" should not be visible at all in the Chang'E 2 footage. The "gash" is so absurdly blatant in the LO-V and DSPSE frames, and the DSPSE frame clearly shows exactly where the gash should be running in the Chinese footage. In the DSPSE frame you can see the start and end "craters" inside and outside Rynin that the gash supposedly runs between, and the Chinese footage shows those start and end craters as well, but there is NO gash at all running between them.

I am already quite sure about NASA/DoD and the perspective tampering they do with their imagery, and it looks to me that the Chinese are doing very much the same thing. It basically revolves around the use of a sanitized basemap along with a sanitized DEM that they use to "build" the supposedly raw footage and frames they show the public. That is how they hide any comparative evidence in footage like this that would prove vertical structuring. They do it by means of perspective manipulation of basemap imagery that they then pass off as being "raw" footage or frames. I realize I am just touching on this here (as well as a bit in the last post), and I will put together some visual examples to help demonstrate how incredibly effective this technique is at hiding/eliminating evidence of verticality from the imagery while still allowing it to survive comparative analysis with other images of the same region. I think the Chinese may be doing their obfuscation regime a little differently than the Americans, and that is why we do not see this "gash in the lunar surface" in the Chinese footage like we should.

Also, here is another framecap from another one of the Chang'E 2 "Engineering Camera" footage releases - this is from the "Second Orbit Trim Maneuver" footage, and I rotated this framegrab so that lunar south is up and lunar north is down here. Again, this is far side footage remember, and while the crater "Rynin" is not visible in the FOV during this pass, that "tower" just to the north of "Wegener" I pointed to in the earlier post can be seen on the extreme left for a period. The area I highlighted with the red square that appears to be blurred out is located near/between the craters "Weber" (south) and "Kramers" (north) (53 degrees latitude, -123 longitude).

Here is a link to the CNSA release of the footage - if you watch this clip, you will see the blur area come into view at about 35 seconds in.

The thing with the blur region is that it definitely has noticeably different focus characteristics across a rather large swath. However, that area just north of Weber is officially declared to be a flat, relatively featureless plain, so I am willing to listen to arguments about the possibility that this is due to video compression blending in the crappy quality footage the Chinese have released. I mean, let's not kid ourselves here - we definitely are not seeing the best that the "Engineering Camera" aboard Chang'E 2 had to offer. For the year being 2010 and all, this footage quality the Chinese have released really sucks - and for good reason I suspect!

Here are a couple enhancements I ran off in negative, just to highlight the area a bit better.

This blurring we see may be due to the video compression that the footage has been subjected to, leading us to surmise that the Engineering Camera does not handle low contrast areas very well. Whether it is deliberate obfuscation or crappy camera and compression, the resolution of that area seems to have been dumbed down and reduced to blur. Maybe there is really nothing there, and it is such a featureless region that the camera was not detecting much if any contrast variance so it just compressed as a blur. Either way, this apparent "blurring" stuck out like a sore thumb to me when I viewed the footage, so figured I would point it out here.

Just for the always important comparison sake, here is a look that Lunar Orbiter V gave us of this area back in 1967. This is crop from frame LOV-025-H1, showing us close to a nadir straight-down look onto this same plain area that appears blurred in the Chang'E 2 footage. The exposure settings are pretty bad here, so I also spiked the scene to brighten it up and contrast highlight it.

And here is the DSPSE "Clementine" nadir basemap (2000nm) look at the region.

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Re: China's Chang E'2 - discrepancies between Chinese and American lunar probe imagery

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 4:08 pm

LunaCognita wrote:Oh, just as an interesting side note, the crater "Rynin" that I was focusing on in the first post of this thread was named after a Russian man named Nikolai Alexsevitch Rynin. Rynin died during WWII in the Siege of Leningrad, and he was probably most famous for publishing a nine-volume "Encyclopedia" of Space Flight back in the late-1920s and early-1930s whose title translates as "Interplanetary Communications". I have feeling that Rynin and guys like Arthur C. Clark or Carl Sagan would have gotten along well.

I think NASA TRS has all nine volumes of "Interplanetary Communications" (translated from original Russian) available in PDF format for anyone to read. They are definitely intriguing if you ever have time to go through them. In Volume 1 for example - "Dreams, legends, and early fantasies", Rynin gives some fantastic history on some of the ancient legends and myths surrounding our Moon.

Here is a link to the nine volumes available in the NASA TRS archives.|0&as=false

It was nice of the IAU to name such an interesting crater after him!

Interplanetary Communications ? mrgreen

That's an odd name for an Encyclopedia and I'll have to check that out because it sounds interesting indeed.

Just so you know, I don't have any problem seeing the giant "gash" in this image ...

Full size -

Link -

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