International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) has been collaborating with

the National Astronomical Observatories -Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) & China National Space Administration (CNSA) to conduct Galaxy Imaging with the Lunar Ultraviolet Telescope aboard the Chang’e-3 lunar lander currently at Sinus Iridum on the lunar surface. In September 2012, ILOA signed a MoU with the NAOC-CAS. This was followed up with a MOU between ILOA and CNSA in August 2013. In exchange for the use of the Chang’e-3 LUT, ILOA will provide observation time to NAOC during its ILO-X and ILO-1 missions.

 – Mission Update January 2014: The start of permanet human operations on the Moon – ILOA.

Today they released for the first time some of the images captured by the LUT on the Chang’e 3 lander : Astronomy from the Moon: ILOA Acquires Exclusive Images from Chang’e-3 Lunar Ultraviolet / Optical Telescope.

Professor Jianyan Wei, principal investigator of the  LUT instrument, indicated that the testing and commissioning phase is complete and all the telescope systems are operating nominally. He reports that the LUT already has captured over 22,000 astronomical images. The 150-mm diameter, near ultraviolet telescope is the payload that has operated the longest and obtained the most data since the 14 December 2013 Moon landing of Chang’e-3.

While the telescope is small and won’t compete with the major UV space observatories, it is still an interesting demo. UV astronomy must be done outside of the earth’s atmosphere and someday UV astronomy might be one of the tasks for a lunar base.