China's Yutu 2 Rover Makes Tracks on Far Side of the Moon

Cristina Cross
January 8, 2019

He posted: "Congratulations to China's Chang'e-4 team for what appears to be a successful landing on the far side of the Moon".

The moon is what scientists call "tidally locked" which means the same side always faces us, while another side always faces away, Loeb said.

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. The country hopes to begin operating its third space station by 2022, and put astronauts on a lunar base sometime in the next decade. An image released by China's space agency shows tracks left by the six-wheeled lunar rover Jade Rabbit 2 as it leaves the spacecraft.

This picture taken on December 8, 2018 shows a Long March 3B rocket, transporting the Chang'e-4 lunar rover, lifting off from the Xichang launch centre in Xichang in China's southwestern Sichuan province.

In the coming months, the lander-rover will conduct scientific observations across the less-understood side of the moon.

China's Yutu 2 rover moving across the far side of the moon.

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Unlike the near side of the moon, which offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged.

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.

As a solution, China in May blasted the Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite into the moon's orbit, positioning it to relay data and commands between the lander and Earth.

During the lunar day, also lasting 14 Earth days, temperatures soar as high as 127 C (261 F). The probe will study geological conditions on the South Pole-Aitken from both above and under the surface.

As announced by the CNSA, the Jadehase 2 robotic vehicle will explore the Moon's geological composition and make biological experiments. Its success provided a major boost to China's space program. China last year launched more rockets into space than any other nation and plans another moon landing, the Chang-e 5, later this year.

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