China broadcasts pictures from far side of the moon

Jan Cross
January 12, 2019

Remember Pink Floyd's 1973 The Dark Side of the Moon album?

Chang'e 4 made the historic touchdown on the moon's surface on 3 January and used its terrain camera to take 360-degree shots of the Von Kármán crater where it had landed, Vice's Motherboard reported.

The pictures, shown on the state broadcaster CCTV, showed the Jade Rabbit 2 rover and the Chang'e 4 spacecraft that transported it during the first soft landing on the side of the moon that always faces away from Earth.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is giving us a firsthand look at a mysterious part of the moon after placing its Chang'e 4 lander on the lunar far side in early January.

These images were sent back via the relay satellite Queqiao, which was operating around the second Lagrangian point of the earth-moon system, about 455,000 kilometers from earth, where it can see both celestial bodies.

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.

Despite being known as the "dark" side, the non-visible side of the moon receives just as much daylight as the earth facing side.

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

Chinese media revealed that the Yutu took a "nap" after solar radiation raised the temperature on the lunar surface to more than 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit) before it rebooted itself on Thursday when the dark side's surface cooled after sunset.

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.

The Yutu 2 rover, as seen by the Chang'e 4 lander.

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

The scientific instruments aboard the probe worked well, and the images taken by the probe and the detection data have been sent back to ground control, said the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The probe is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid obstacles on the ground.

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