Chang'e-4 Shows Moon's Far Side Colder than Expected During Night

Mindy Sparks
February 2, 2019

One of the challenges with landing on the side of the moon that does not face Earth is that direct communication with Earth is not possible, thus requiring an intermediary satellite. It's the first detection data of lunar night temperature obtained by China's lunar exploration project.

The rover and the lander of the Chang'e-4 probe have been awakened by sunlight after a long "sleep" during the first extremely cold night on the moon, said the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Chang'e 4 landed specifically on the South Pole-Aitken Basin area of the moon and houses a rover named Yutu-2 which will physically explore the lunar surface.

"If you are in a part of the Moon where it is getting dark, you will notice that a lunar night has a duration of 14 terrestrial days, meaning that that part of the Moon would be kept in darkness for two weeks", explained the staff of the Caribbean Astronomy Society in a written statement.

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

They were lower than those recorded by previous U.S. missions to the near side of the moon, Zhang He, executive director of the Chang´e-4 mission, told Xinhua news agency.

The Caribbean Astronomy Society experts also explained that "extreme temperatures are experienced on the dark side of the Moon".

The Chinese Chang'e-4 lunar mission is returning data again after a scheduled two-week rest period.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is expected to take images of the Chang'e-4 spacecraft at its landing site in the Von Kármán crater on Thursday, January 31 and also gather data about how lunar dust is ejected upwards during a spacecraft's landing, in a rare instance of space cooperation between China and America.

The lander and rover are outfitted with a radioisotope heat source.

The scientific tasks of the Chang'e-4 mission include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure, and measuring neutron radiation and neutral atoms.

Used for the first time in a Chinese spacecraft, the isotope thermoelectric generation technology to transform heat into power on Chang'e-4 is a prototype for future deep-space exploration, said Sun Zezhou, chief designer of the Chang'e-4 probe from CAST.

"It is a technology that we must master if we want to go to the moon's polar regions or farther than Jupiter into deep space, where solar power can not be used as the primary power source", he said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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