Chang'e-4: Chinese rover now exploring Moon

09 January, 2019, 12:06 | Author: Emilio Conner
  • Yutu-2 China's lunar rover leaves wheel marks after leaving the lander that touched down on the surface of the far side of the moon. — AP

The head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, Thursday congratulated the Chinese colleagues on the successful landing of the Chang'e-4 probe.

While past missions have been to the Earth-facing side, this is the first time ever a spacecraft has landed on the unexplored far side of the moon.

"We are pleased that the power equipment of the Chang'e-4 mission is supplied by radioisotope sources of electricity produced in Russian Federation", he said.

Yutu 2 (also called Jade Rabbit 2) rolled off a ramp connected to the lander and began making tracks on the moon's soft soil surface at 10.22 p.m. Beijing time, about 12 hours after Chang'e 4 landed.

More than 2,000 high-ranking officials of the Chinese Communist Party have signed a petition this week asking explanations from the American government concerning the American Moon landings after doubts arose that the Apollo Moon landings ever happened.

"The far side of the moon is a rare quiet place that is free from interference of radio signals from Earth", mission spokesman Yu Guobin said, according to Xinhua.

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The first photos from the landing, shared by the China National Space Administration on Thursday, show the first close-ups of the far side of the moon's cratered surface.

Lunar exploration chief Wu Weiren echoed Neil Armstrong's famous quote, telling state media the event marked a "huge stride" for China. It hopes to have a crewed space station by 2022 and eventually send humans to the moon. The United States is the only other country that has carried out moon landings.

Since the moon's revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, the same side always faces the Earth.

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

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.

Beijing is planning to send another lunar lander, Chang'e 5, next year to collect samples and bring them back to Earth.

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