Chinese rover on the move in pioneering Moon mission

Mindy Sparks
January 5, 2019

On Wednesday night (Jan. 2), the Chang'e 4 rover and its stationary-lander companion pulled off the first-ever soft touchdown on the lunar far side, coming to a rest inside the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater.

China's far-side moon rover is already busy exploring its exotic new home.

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

The first photos from the landing, shared by the China National Space Administration on Thursday, show the first close-ups of the far side of the moon's cratered surface.

Yutu 2 (also called Jade Rabbit 2) rolled off a ramp connected to the lander and began making tracks on the moon's soft soil surface at 10.22 p.m. Beijing time, about 12 hours after Chang'e 4 landed.


Researchers hope that low-frequency observations of the cosmos from the far side, where radio signals from Earth are blocked by the moon, will help scientists learn more about the early days of the solar system and even the birth of the universe's first stars.

Despite the name of Pink Floyd's best-selling album, the side of the moon you can't see isn't always dark. "The other side is not dark, it's just far", said Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb.

It's also a major first step for China's future lunar missions and bigger space ambitions.

Every semester, Purdue University lunar and planetary scientist Jay Melosh demonstrates how the far side gets light using a bright light as the sun and students playing the roles of the moon and the Earth.

China's space program lags America's, but has made great strides in the past 15 years, including manned flights and a space laboratory that is seen as a precursor to plans for a space station.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER