China's Yutu 2 Rover Makes Tracks on Far Side of the Moon

Christopher Davidson
January 5, 2019

Leaving two tracks in the soft lunar surface, the slow roll of Jade Rabbit 2 on to the far side of the moon was a relatively small step in the long voyage of the Chinese rover. He posted: "Congratulations to China's Chang'e-4 team for what appears to be a successful landing on the far side of the Moon". A photo released by the agency showed the rover stopped at a point not far from where the Chang'e 4 spacecraft touched down Thursday.

"The Chang'e-4, carrying eight payloads, will conduct low-frequency radio astronomical observation, survey the terrain and landforms, detect the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure and measure the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the Moon".

China's Chang'e 4 craft on Thursday became the first to land on the far side.

The moon is what scientists call "tidally locked" which means the same side always faces us, while another side always faces away, Loeb said.

"It's just the far side, it can be either dark or light", Loeb said, depending on the time of day. When there's a full moon in our sky, the far side is dark.

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China's mission is to learn more about the little-understood region of the moon and compete with the United States and Russian Federation as a powerhouse of space exploration.

The far side has been observed many times from lunar orbits, but never explored on the surface.

China was the first to complete a "soft landing", without damage, on the far side of the moon.

"With the communication assistance of the relay satellite Queqiao, the lander sent back the first-ever close-up photograph of the Moon's far side, opening a new chapter in lunar exploration".

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