Chang’e 2 scans an asteroid

Asteroid 4179 ToutatisOriginally launched by China to orbit the moon in 2010, and later parked at a LaGrange point beyond the moon’s orbit, the unmanned Chang’e 2 space probe flies by asteroid 4179 Toutatis at a distance of under two miles, capturing the first close-up images of the asteroid as it passes Earth almost half a million miles away. Though 4179 Toutatis has been imaged by ground-based radar on several occasions during its semi-frequent visits to the inner solar system, this is the first space probe to visit it at close range. As of this encounter, Chang’e 2 is the most distant Chinese spacecraft from Earth.