China broadcasts spacecraft pictures from moon's far side

Pablo Tucker
January 13, 2019

China's Chang'e-4 probe and its rover Yutu-2, took photos of each other on Friday, marking a successful mission to the far side of the moon.

Information can not be sent directly from the lunar far side to Earth - the moon's bulk gets in the way.

The 140-kilogram (308-pound) rover has since resumed activities, which will include taking a picture of the front side of the lander and exploration missions.

The Chang'e-4 probe is equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon's surface, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Chang'e-4, the Yutu-2 and the Queqiao relay satellite that beams data back to Earth are "in a stable condition, and all work was carried out as planned", the statement said.


The rover, named after the moon goddess's pet rabbit, successfully separated from the lander and drove onto the moon's surface last Thursday.

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

The pictures were transmitted by a relay satellite to a control centre in Beijing, although it was not immediately clear when they were taken.

The program has achieved five consecutive accomplishments, said CNSA, referring to Chang'e-1, Chang'e-2, Chang'e-3, a test craft for Chang'e-5 and Chang'e-4.

"From the panorama, we can see the probe is surrounded by lots of small craters, which was really thrilling", Li was quoted as saying.


The mission sent the first panoramic image of its landing site Friday, showing the grey moonscape it is exploring and the track marks left by the rover in the lunar soil.

The rover, which had been put in "standby" mode to protect it from the Sun's heat, was then switched on and, along with the Chang'e-4 probe, took pictures of the landing site and its surroundings.

This is the second Chinese probe to land on the moon, following the Yutu (Jade Rabbit) rover mission in 2013.

The Chinese space administration also released a 12-minute video of the spacecraft's landing, which can be seen below.

"The thicker dust shows that the lunar regolith in the region has undergone longer space weathering, which also gives strong evidence of the region being older".


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