Wen Jiabao unveils the first image taken by Chang'e I  (Source: Xinhua)
The Chang'e I returns its first image

The Chinese space agency publicly unveiled the first image of the moon taken by a camera aboard the Chang'e 1 lunar probe.  Scientists will use the image to help create a three-dimensional stereo image of the entire moon, though possible release dates of the image remain unknown.  

During a presentation from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, Premier Wen Jiabao described the image as an important step towards "the Chinese race's 1,000-year-old dream" of being able to explore the moon.  The black-and-white image shows an area of "about 460 kilometers in length and 280 km in width," and was located on one of the moon's highlands.

The images were collected on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 and consisted of 19 total images that each covered 60 kilometers of surface.

"The Chinese nation is fully able to stand tall among the world's ranks of advanced nations," Jiabao said during the conference.  "It showcases eloquently that the Chinese people have the will, the ambition and the capability to compose more shining new chapters while ascending the science and technology summit."  

Chang'e I is expected to orbit the moon for one year while scanning its entire surface.

As most parties involved agree to officially declare there is no Asian space race, China, Japan and India all have high hopes for studying the moon.  The Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA) worked alongside the Japan Broadcasting Corporation to release moon pictures and videos taken by JAXA's SELENE orbiter.  South Korea is slowly becoming interested in further space exploration, with a lunar probe launch scheduled by 2020.

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