China broadcasts spacecraft pictures from moon's far side

Christopher Davidson
January 13, 2019

Well, the photo might make you imagine the album in novel ways now.

Pics and vid China's Chang'e lunar lander has beamed back its first pictures of the far side of the Moon.

Scientists have said the far side is a key area for solving several unknowns about the moon, including its internal structure and thermal evolution.

The moon is "tidally locked" to Earth in its rotation so the same side is always facing Earth.

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.

China announced on Friday that the Chang'e-4 mission, was a "complete success".

At 4:47 p.m. BJT on Friday, the images of the lander and the rover appeared on a large screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, showing the Chinese national flag on both the lander and the rover with the desolate landscape dotted with craters on the far side of the moon as the background.

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

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Dark side of the Moon in motion.

CNSA also released a new panorama image of the far side of the moon's topography.

The Chang'e-4 "Yutu 2" rover was deployed on the lunar surface at 14:22 UTC, December 3, 2018.

The deepest region on the moon, with a depth of 9,100 meters (5.7 miles), is about 700 kilometers (435 miles) to the south of the probe, Li said.

One of the biggest challenges for the mission is getting information back to Earth.

The space administration also released a 12-minute video of Chang'e 4's landing utilizing more than 4,700 images taken by an on-board camera. The Chang'e 4 is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid craters and uneven surfaces before it lands. In other words, the far side of the Moon, well, looks pretty similar to the near side.

Now that Chang'e 4 snapped some footage, CNSA aims to conduct low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveys of moon landforms, measure neutron radiation, and detect mineral composition.

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