NASA shared information from a US satellite while China told the Americans about the latitude, longitude and time of the landing “in a timely manner,” he said.
The hope was that NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) could observe the historic touchdown of the Chinese lander on January 3.
NASA provided the planned orbit path of LRO to China, but it turned out the spacecraft was not in the right place at the right time.
“For a number of reasons, NASA was not able to phase LRO’s orbit to be at the optimal location during the landing, however NASA was still interested in possibly detecting the plume well after the landing,” the agency said in a statement.
“Science gathered about how lunar dust is ejected upwards during a spacecraft’s landing could inform future missions and how they arrive on the lunar surface.”
The research is important for Nasa’s ambitions to return to the Moon, with missions scheduled for as early as next year.
The US campaign to return to the Moon, the first in more than 40 years, has been brought forward by President Donald Trump, who has pushed for commercial and international funding to replace federal for international ventures.