“China published the first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1 on Monday morning, marking the success of the country's first lunar probe project.” Xinhua News Agency, the state-run media of China, reported on November 26. Although proudly unveiled by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the “framed black-and-white photo” which “showed a rough moon surface with scattered round craters both big and small” immediately caused some astronomical amateurs’ suspicions because of its similarities to an earlier lunar image confirmed by US in 2005. Additionally, the recent South China Tiger farce and the continuous negative rumors of the lunar probe undoubtedly reinforced people's worries that whether the photo was another “Tiger” copied from NASA‘s work.
In an effort to dispel the doubts and queries about the picture, Ouyang Ziyuan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and chief scientist of the lunar exploration program, claimed last Sunday, “Because China and the United States took the images in the same region, it's natural the two pictures look alike. But through careful observation you will see there are some nuances.” To further prove the photo's authenticity, Professor Ouyang Ziyuan confidently cited a convincing difference discovered by a Canadian Chinese named Jun Liu, saying after a careful comparison the overseas Chinese found that in China National Space Administration(CNSA)'s picture there were two craters in an area where the NASA's image only showed one. “The additional crater,” Ouyang Ziyuan added, “may be either missed due to the American photo's inadequate resolution or created by a new impact of some celestial body from 2005 to 2007.”
The magnifying image of the new crater were massively quoted by the mainstream media in China and a lot of people including part of the critics were brought around by the effective proof, until another question persuasively raised by a netizen named “Beautiful Eyes” (美丽的眼睛) was appearing in a thread of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory online BBS:
When I replied to a post the other day, I had an estimate that during ten years or so it is most likely to form a new crater meters in diameter within an area of thousands of square kilometers in the moon surface. Of course we can not get rid of the possibility of a new km-grade crater, but that should be an incident of extremely low probability.
I was a little surprised by what academician Ouyang said today, but obviously there were two craters in CNSA's photo. Just now I made a careful comparison again between our picture and Google Moon, finding out a big problem of the “new crater”. The error may be committed during the image stitching. It's highly probable that either NASA or CNSA wrongly pieced together the images.
My World Wind doesn't work so I can't download a clear image of the moon surface. If somebody has one you can have a comparison.
This is the approximate position of the new crater:
Academician Ouyang presented in Shanghai Wenhui lecture and said a Canadian Chinese had found an ironclad proof: a new crater, proving the moon picture taken by Chang'e was real. At present, I don't suspect the authenticity of the moon image sent back by Chang'e very much, but that proof is not in complete accord with my intuition.
Part: The arrow points at the new crater which Mr. Ouyang mentioned. The diameter is about 3km.
仔细看 Google Moon上那个所谓老坑，岂不是也在左边缘上叠着一个小坑吗？
After enlarging the different part of the two images, it becomes very suspicious right away: another smaller crater is surprisingly located on the left edge of the new crater. It's almost impossible that two heavenly bodies hit at the same spot of the moon surface just during two years.
Pay attention to the so called old crater on Google Moon. Isn't there a small crater also on the left edge?
Is academician Ouyang wrong? Is the upper-right one the new crater? Absolutely not. Get more information in the next comparison.
The part of the controversial crater
According to the terrain features, we first calculate from left to right (yellow lines), then from right to left (red lines), finally getting a dislocation in the middle, so the two craters shot by Chang'e are actually the same one of Google Moon. The blue mark I guess is the stitching line of that part.
The evidence further illustrates it's more like Chang'e image manipulating personnel's mistake, but not NASA.
To the south of the crater in question, there is a strip of ground which is divided into two parts in the picture taken by Chang'e probe (the red arrow pointed at). Please compared it to the landmark pointed by the yellow arrows.
The stitch of the small crater in the three-dimensional image is correct:
The explanation of new crater has been overwhelmingly spread and quoted by the news media and Sina even published detailed pictures. I hope the webmasters who can contact with academician Ouyang tell him to voluntarily admit the mistake and correct it as soon as possible. Every netizen has got a pair of penetrating eyes through the fake photo of South China Tiger. As long as it's a real mistake, some netizens will definitely expose it even if I didn't discover it before. Until that time, to give a reasonable explanation will become a very tough work for the authorities.
By Thursday evening, more than 29000 people have browsed through Beautiful Eyes's post in the online BBS while 178 left their comments. Whether the alleged new crater is a forgivable mistake, a shameful fault or actually existing there has become the focus among the netizens. Here are some of the comments:
这个错误不大但也不小，毕竟是第一张照片啊! 我认为政府应该吸取华南虎的经验，如果确实属实，应该坦然承认并进行详细的解释，千万不要捂盖子! 甚至可以嘉奖这位网友，以彰显政府和科研部门的开放和坦诚!!
Author: Lang Ziya
I pay my tribute to the author (Beautiful Eyes)!!
This mistake from the other side has proved our Chang'e picture is real!! It's only some man-made stitching work that caused mistakes!
It's not a big error but also not a trivial matter. After all, this picture is the first one! I think the government must learn a lesson from the South China Tiger. If it is really true, they should be composed to acknowledge their fault and give a specific explanation, never covering up the fact! The government and scientific department can even reward this netizen (Beautiful Eyes) to show their opening and sincerity!!
Author: Dongdong Hu
Admiring the author's piercing eyes, ha ha
but the photo you (Beautiful Eyes) quoted in the comparison is coming from Google Moon and more information has told me the photo of US is also stitched by different images which are of different definitions. So how can you prove it's a mistake of Chang'e's picture but not America's?
这还用讨论, 显然证明了轨道运行得不是那么精确的谣言, 19轨图像拼接的时候没有仔细作好几何校正。政治压力大, 一线干活的人太毛糙了。
Author: Mantou Boji
Do we need a discussion about this? It has obviously demonstrated the rumor that the probe's orbit is not that accurate. They didn't make careful geometric adjustments when pieced together the 19 images. High political pressure has made the working staff's work too crude.
As the chief scientist of the lunar exploration program, his irresponsible statement is really a shame to the country. Such kind of official should be dismissed at once! He can't deserve the respect from the people!
I think through the author (Beautiful Eyes)'s analysis everyone can see it's unnecessary to talk about whether the picture is true or not. It's absolutely a real one which just includes some mistakes. There's also no need to discuss if the Japan's lunar probe is more advanced than ours. It's a truth that Japan owns a better technology foundation and an earlier start of moon exploration. Someone asked why China's probe didn't take a photograph of the earth like Japanese did before. In fact it's very simple to understand after we see the Chang'e probe's camera structure which is totally designed for scanning the moon surface. Rather than a camera it's more like a scanning apparatus which can't rotate like Japan's lens that is able to turn back to take a picture of the earth. Besides, our moon picture is black-and-white.
Facing the present situation, the government has to make an introspection of the propaganda work that began on a grand scale and then kept silent. Hastily giving a reply after the querying voice had come out, the chief scientist also lost the necessary caution. All of that have messed up the lunar program which is supposed to be a plain scientific exploring activity. The credibility of the government has been consumed again.
Anyone who has heard Mr. Ouyang's report would admire his carefulness and scientific attitude. Even the chief scientist is not god, so who was able to guarantee that a man can continuously made a report for two and half hours without any mistake? During the lecture, Mr. Ouyang had explained the opinion of the new crater didn't belong to him but an overseas Chinese. He just heard it not long before the meeting, and didn't have enough time to examine and check the information. After all, what Ouyang did was just a popular science report rather than a research, so how can we demand his every word is completely accurate?
One thing should be analyzed overall, and it's the same to one man. Please pay tribute to our chief scientist.
Following Beautiful Eyes, some netizens continued to compare the two pictures by the image manipulating software like Photoshop. skyhobby, another registered member of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory online BBS, provided a screenshot which further supported Beautiful Eye's view:
The author (Beautiful Eyes) is fantastic. It's certainly an image stitching error of Chang'e-1 personnel. After a simple shift by Photoshop, the picture taken by Chang'e showed the same lunar surface with Google Moon.
It seems Beautiful Eyes's question to the new crater has evoked a new surge of controversy about the first moon picture photographed by Chang'e probe on China's Internet. However, the mainstream media of China still keep silent on the new question. A report titled by “Ouyang Ziyuan Refuted the suspicion that ‘the first image sent back by Chang'e-I copied the picture from US’ ” is still available in Xinhua's Chinese version website.