Chinese language Rover Lands Safely On Far Facet Of Moon

Chinese language Rover Lands Safely On Far Facet Of Moon

Photos of the rover leaving humankind's first tracks there on Thursday night were sent back to Earth by the lander after the vehicle separated from it.

China says it has successfully landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, the first ever such attempt and landing.

The Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2) rover drove onto the moon's surface from the lander at 10:22pm Thursday (1422 GMT), about 12 hours after the groundbreaking touchdown of the Chang'e-4 probe, the agency said.

The spacecrafts are aptly named after the legend of the Chinese goddess Chang'e, who is said to have lived on the moon for a Millennia.

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The successful landing formally inaugurated the world's first expedition to the far side and is expected to fulfil scientists' long-held aspiration to closely observe the enormous region. To call it the "dark side of the moon", while poetic, is inaccurate, because the far side gets plenty of light.

The move marks a global first that boosts Beijing's ambitions to become a space superpower, state media said.

Chang'e 4, a combined lander and rover, will make astronomical observations and probe the composition of the soil.

The spacecraft, which blasted off into the heavens on December 7, was in an elliptical orbit around the Moon, swinging within 15 kilometres (nine miles) of the lunar regolith. Everything appears to be working smoothly, which is great news for astronomers, and we can likely expect plenty of Moon news out of China in the coming weeks. The Chang'e-4 unit consists of a lunar station and a lunar rover.

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Assuming all is well the lander and rover will examine the walls and floor of the crater, using twin cameras, a spectrograph and ground-penetrating radar.

There is much to explore on the far side of the moon. China plans to send the Chang'e-5 probe next year to collect samples and bring them back, which hasn't been done since the then-Soviet Union's mission, The Associated Press reports.

The rover will also conduct mineral and radiation tests, the China National Space Administration has said. That was China's first moon landing and the beginning of its second mission phase. We have mastered the technology to land on the far side of the Moon, and the landing technology itself and also the data-reading technology.

The United States is the only country to have landed humans on the moon, and Trump said in 2017 he wanted to return astronauts to the lunar surface to build a foundation for an eventual Mars mission.

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