"Unexplored!" --China Releases First Photos of Moon's Far Side

Cesar Mills
January 13, 2019

China's space agency has released panoramic photographs taken on the lunar surface by the country's Chang'e 4 probe - the first manmade craft to land on the mysterious far side of the Moon.

China on Friday broadcast pictures taken by its rover and lander on the far side of the moon, in what its space programme hailed as another triumph for the groundbreaking mission.

Several new pictures shown on state broadcaster CCTV revealed the Jade Rabbit 2 rover and the Chang'e 4 spacecraft that transported it to the Moon.

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The Moon's far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown, with a different composition from sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

Chang'e-4 probe touched down at the preselected landing area at 177.6 degrees east longitude and 45.5 degrees south latitude in the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin on the far side of the moon on January 3, and the rover drove onto the lunar surface late that night.

Panorama shot taken by China's Moon lander with a picture of its detached rover scooting off in the distance.

China uses a special satellite, called Queqiao, as the link between Chang'e 4 and Beijing.

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The original Yutu rover from the 2013 Chang'e-3 mission to the lunar near side also took a similar break during its first lunar day in Mare Imbrium.

"Now I declare that the Chang'e 4 mission, as a part of the Chang'e Lunar Exploration Program, has been a success", Zhang said.

He said the Chang'e-4 landed at an altitude of almost minus 6,000 metres.

The far side has been observed many times from lunar orbits, but never explored on the surface.

The deepest region on the moon, with a depth of 9,100 meters (5.7 miles), is about 700 kilometers (435 miles) to the south of the probe, Li said.

As the Moon is tidally locked to Earth - its rotation period roughly equals its orbital period - we only get to see one side of our satellite.

The video, lasting about 12 minutes, shows the probe adjusted its altitude, hovered and avoided obstacles during the descent process.

The Chang'e 4 lander, as seen by the Yutu 2 rover.

Other reports by GizPress

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