Science

First 360-degree image of the far side of the Moon released

First 360-degree image of the far side of the Moon released

The rover for China's Chang'e-4 mission has restarted activities following a period on standby as a precaution against high temperatures as the sun rose to its highest point over the landing site on the far side of the Moon.

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. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon, but nobody had ever landed on it before.

The Chang'e-4 probe took 12 minutes to descend onto the moon's surface earlier this month.

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 probe, comprised of a lander and a rover, 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.

The 360-degree photo shows the grey moonscape, the lander and the rover.

The pictures were transmitted by a relay satellite to a control center in Beijing.




China's space agency has said the mission "lifted the mysterious veil" from the far side of the moon, which is never seen from Earth, and "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration".

The spacecraft is equipped with radar, cameras, and spectrometers for studying the far side of the Moon.

"The No. 4 mission is the first mission of the fourth phase of China's lunar exploration project", CNSA said in the press release.

The CNSA also released a video of the landing process of the Chang'e-4, which was produced by processing more than 4,700 pictures taken by a camera on the probe.

Several photos show the lunar rover Yutu-2 driving into the distance. The Chang'e 4 is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid craters and uneven surfaces before it lands.

Now that Chang'e 4 snapped some footage, CNSA aims to conduct low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveys of moon landforms, measure neutron radiation, and detect mineral composition.


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