Why does the moon look so brown in the Chinese pictures?

As many of you have heard, China landed it’s first Moon rover recently and has started returning pictures.

The moon is a deep earthy brown in all of these pictures, as opposed to the white silvery powdery settings from America’s landings in the 70’s.

Is this because of different photography effects and newer cameras or does the color of the moons surface vary greatly? There are certainly bright patches and dark patches when observing the moon with the naked eye or a telescope.

Did China land their rover in a different type of moon environment (can’t think of a better way to phrase that) than America?

Certainly on Earth there are brown sands, black soils, and white ice caps. Does the moon have a similar variety? If this is not the case, which set of pictures (American or Chinese) better represent the moons actual color? How did Russian pictures compare?

I have been surprised by the relatively poor quality of the rover’s images in general, compared to what we have become accustomed to from other missions. I’m wondering if the camera got damaged in some way. They look like images from a cheap webcam!

In this shot, mood dust looks like dirt (dark) on the NASA astronauts white suit.

The article explains that the dirt contains rock that has been turned to glass.
I that to mean its got glassy crystals in it, When light reflects at certain angles off the glassy bits, it looks silvery.

This fellow (who was reprinting Apollo photos for an exhibition) discusses the color variability, which can be extreme depending not only on individual astronauts’ perceptions but also on the film stock used, exposure, developing aboard ship, reproduction from masters, etc. etc.


I am guessing that they either used a different set than NASA did in the 60’s (some of the photos suggest the Gobi Desert) or they are just filter effects that Instagram added automatically when they uploaded the photos.

The Chinese also may be using different lights than we did. For example they could be using sodium based lighting which would give everything an orange tint.

It could also just be interpolated color on the Chinese probe. There are no color cameras on recent NASA Mars missions, IIRC, but color photos have been mocked up by using exposures from two different sensors that cover different stretches of the spectrum. (Which, of course, is how normal color cameras do it, but normal color cameras are specifically designed to replicate the way the sensors–cones–in our eyes take in the spectrum; the rover cameras had different design requirements, and I believe their ability to mock up color is just coincidental.)

Some of the later, higher-resolution pictures look “grayer,” at least.

Different parts of the Moon are made out of different types of cheese. Some parts are made out of creamy cheeses like Wensleydale, whilst other parts are made of much darker cheeses like Red Leicester.

Pollution in Beijing is that bad.

(@ Asympotically fat: it’s like no cheese I’ve ever tasted.)

Some of the excitement about the landing I thought was due to it being in a geologically interesting region. Dark soil, ancient lava flows. Don’t know how significantly different this is than the Apollo landing sites, but looking at the moon it is pretty obvious that it is not all one homogeneous colour.

‘Remarkable’ rocks within reach of Jade Rabbit rover