Chinese rover begins exploring far side of the moon

Cesar Mills
January 8, 2019

The collection of data from the invisible side of the moon began with the Jadehase 2 robotic vehicle, the vehicle carried by the Chinese satellite Chang'e 4, which for some hours has been laid on the moon side that we cannot see.

Lunar rover Yutu-2 has been driving on the far side of the moon after separating from the lander and scientific devices on both the lander and rover are now gathering data, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said late Friday.

Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space program.

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China on December 8, 2018, and entered orbit around the Moon five days later. The lander later deployed a small rover to explore the surrounding landscape. The far side can't be seen from earth, and its surface has never been observed up close.

Chang'e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the moons' far side.

One of the challenges of exploring the far side of the moon is communication.

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The China National Space Administration released a photo taken by the lander showing tracks left by the rover as it departed the spacecraft, though it did not specify how far the rover travelled. Instead of finding a collection of record players spinning Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon backwards, the probe sent back a photograph of a desolate rocky surface pitted with a single crater, said to be the oldest and deepest on the moon.

No lander or rover has ever previously touched the surface there, and it is no easy technological feat - China has been preparing for this moment for years. When there's a full moon in our sky, the far side is dark.

Adding to the difficulties, Chang'e 4 was sent to the Aitken Basin in the lunar south pole region - known for its craggy and complex terrain.

The Yutu 2 rover moving farther across the moon's surface.

The rover will also conduct mineral and radiation tests, the China National Space Administration has said.

Other reports by GizPress

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