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China's Chang'e 3 captures its first stunning panoramic images of the Moon

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    In this digitally-combined polar panorama, a 360 degree color view of the moonscape taken from China's Changâe-3 lander can be seen.Chinese Academy of Sciences

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    1st 360 degree color panorama from Chinas Change-3 Lunar Lander.CNSA/Chinanews/Ken Kremer/ Marco di Lorenzo

China's space agency has released the first color images from its first spacecraft to soft land on the Moon.

The Chang'e 3 spacecraft captured several panoramic photographs of the surrounding moonscape.

The images show the Moon's gray, rocky landscape and are very similar to the photos captured by NASA's Apollo lunar landing missions from 1969-1972.

The pictures may be an indication of what China has planned for its burgeoning space career. Chinese space officials have suggested that a manned lunar landing is its future in the next 10 years.

The images were captured between between December 15 and 18 of last year.

An interactive, 360 degree version of Chang'e 3's images can be seen here.

China is the third country to successfully soft land on Moon, after the United States and the Soviet Union.