Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Science | By

'Total success': China broadcasts images from far side of moon

'Total success': China broadcasts images from far side of moon

China has broadcast pictures taken by its rover and lander on the moon's far side.

Showing the rover moving away from its lander, officials with the China National Space Administration said they marked a "total success" for the mission. The photos reveal a seemingly endless horizon of grey, rocky terrain.

The rover, named after the moon goddess's pet rabbit, successfully separated from the lander and drove onto the moon's surface last Thursday.

Chang'e-4 landed within the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin, the largest and deepest impact crater in the solar system.

A Chinese lunar probe, which landed on the far side of the Moon earlier in January this year, has sent first panoramic image of the Moon's dark side.

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The original Yutu rover from the 2013 Chang'e-3 mission to the lunar near side also took a similar break during its first lunar day in Mare Imbrium.

"From the panorama, we could see the probe was surrounded by many small craters".

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

He said the Chang'e-4 landed at an altitude of almost minus 6,000 metres.

This is the first time an attempt was made to explore the far side of the Moon.

A camera deployed on Chang'e-4 took a photo that was released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) today.

The craters close to the rover - including one that was 20 meters wide (65 feet) with a depth of about 4m - will pose great challenges when planning its route, Li said.

The mission would now "progress to the scientific exploration stage", the space agency said in a statement.

"Compared with the landing site of the Chang'e-3, which was sent to the Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on the moon's near side, fewer rocks can be found in the area surrounding Chang'e-4, indicating the landing area of Chang'e-4 might be older".

The CNSA on Friday released several images taken by the Chang'e-4 probe transmitted back via the relay satellite Queqiao. The Chang'e 4 is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid craters and uneven surfaces before it lands.

China's space agency has said the mission "lifted the mysterious veil" from the far side of the moon, which is never seen from Earth, and "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration".

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