China broadcasts spacecraft pictures from moon's far side

Federico Mansilla
Enero 11, 2019

"They have reached the predetermined engineering goals, right now they are getting into the stage of scientific searches", Zhang Kejian, director of the China National Space Administration, said before engineers at the Beijing centre.

China announced Friday that the Chang'e-4 mission, which realized the first-ever soft-landing on the far side of the moon, was a complete success.

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

A video of the latest mission's landing - produced using more than 4,700 pictures taken by a camera on the probe - showed a "thicker layer of dust" offering "strong evidence" that its landing area is much older than the site where China's previous rover landed, Li said.

A rover dubbed Yutu-2 - the name of the moon goddess's pet, the "Jade Rabbit" - successfully separated from the lander and drove onto the moon's surface yesterday.

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

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

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The program has achieved five continuous successes, said CNSA, referring to Chang'e-1, Chang'e-2, Chang'e-3, a test craft for Chang'e-5 and Chang'e-4.

Unlike the near side of the moon that offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged.

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

The scientists of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of NASA have also cooperated with Chang'e-4 mission team to study the landing of the Chang'e-4 probe, according to the CNSA. "For the first time in human history, the spacecraft made a soft landing and patrol survey on the back of the moon, and for the first time realized the relay communication with the Earth on the back of the moon, and with many countries". The deepest region on the Moon, where there is an altitude of minus 9,100 meters, is about 700 kilometers to the south of the probe.

The message, a reference to a past Chinese office tradition, was quickly met with joy as several netizens wished the rover luck on it endeavors on the far side of the moon.

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

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