China broadcasts pictures from far side of the moon

China broadcasts pictures from far side of the moon

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 Chang'e-4 mission is the first of the fourth phase of China's lunar exploration mission, and it's the first time in human history that a spacecraft realized soft-landing and toured the far side of the moon". The photos reveal a seemingly endless horizon of grey, rocky terrain.

The lander succeeded in its first task of deploying its rover - named Yutu-2 - which has started exploring the Moon's Von Karman crater.

It's the first-ever soft landing on the side of the moon that faces away from Earth.

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The craters close to the rover - including one that was 20 meters wide (65 feet) with a depth of about four meters (13 feet) - will pose great challenges when planning its route, Li said.

Many lunar orbiters had shown the moon's two sides were very different: the near side is relatively flat, while the far side is thickly dotted with impact craters.

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Instead, signals are sent from the lunar surface up to a relay satellite called Queqiao, which launched in May 2018 and is hovering in an orbital "parking spot" from which it can communicate with Earth.

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

The space administration also released a 12-minute video of Chang'e 4's landing, made up of more than 4,700 images taken by an onboard camera.

As a result of the tidal locking effect, the moon's revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle.

"We chose a vertical descent strategy to avoid the influence of the mountains on the flight track", Zhang He, executive director of the Chang'e-4 project said in a statement.

"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".

Yutu-2 is set to rover to the front side of the lander and return an image of the craft, like that taken by its predecessor Yutu for the Chang'e-3 mission above, before continuing to explore using its suite of science instruments.

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