China lands first spacecraft on far side of moon

Photos show Chinese rover making tracks on the far side of the moon

Chang'e-4 Probe Touches Down on Far Side of the Moon | Space Exploration

The transfer mechanism unlocked as planned, with one side reaching the Moon's surface, allowing the rover to descend onto the surface from the slope.

The six-wheeled rover, known as Yutu 2, isn't pausing to catch its breath, as a newly released photo shows. For one thing, China's effort was the world's first mission to the surface of the moon's far side (which, as it turns out, isn't actually all that dark) and therefore posed unique technical challenges. Because the moon blocks direct communication from the far side, to transmit images from the probe back to earth, China had to build a separate relay satellite.

A Chinese spacecraft has made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon in the latest achievement for the country's growing space programme. Such observations could help scientists better understand the moon's composition, structure and evolution, Chinese space officials have said. Yutu-2 will enter a "napping" mode at an appropriate time and is expected to resume moving next Thursday.

"A small step for the robotic vehicle, a giant leap for the Chinese nation", said the chief designer of the vehicle, Wu Wiren, paraphrasing the words of the American astronaut, Neil Armstrong, the first man to have been on the moon about 50 years ago.

While China's space program still lags America's, He said "China has already positioned itself at least as good as Russian Federation and the European Union".

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.

Chang'e 4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies, which aim to take advantage of the lack of interference on the far side.

Chang'e 4 had touched down on the surface just over an hour earlier at 10.26am, the China National Space Administration said. The other side, most of which can not be seen from Earth, is called the far side, or dark side, because most of it is uncharted.

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