Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

China’s probe sends panoramic image of Moon’s far side

China Clearly a Country in a Hurry When It Comes to Space The Long March 2 G F rocket that carried Tiangong-1 into orbit
Kristen Harrington | 13 January, 2019, 14:45

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 photos reveal a seemingly endless horizon of grey, rocky terrain.

A rover dubbed Yutu-2 - or Jade Rabbit, the name of the moon goddess's pet - successfully separated from the lander and drove onto the moon's surface about eight hours after landing.

Chang'e 4 touched down on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin in the morning of January 3.

Among the images is a 360-degree panorama stitched together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after it released the rover onto the lunar surface, Xinhua said, citing Li Chunlai, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and commander-in-chief of the ground application system of Chang'e 4.

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The mission, part of the country's ambitious space programme, is to study the moon's geology but also monitor for radio waves coming from deep space because the dark side is shielded from Earth's own radio signals.

CNSA said the Chang'e 4, the Yutu No. 2 patrol, and the "Yuqiao" relay star were reported to be in stable condition, after they safely landed on the far side of the moon on January 3.

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.

Both machines also sent back panoramic pictures of the landing site and of the rover moving.

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

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"The information from the depths of the moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration", he said.

An image of the Yutu 2 rover taken by the Chang'e lander.

Scientists have said the far side is a key area for solving several unknowns about the moon, including its internal structure and thermal evolution.

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

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