China Releases Incredible, Never-Before-Seen Images of the Far Side of the Moon

The Chinese Chang’e 4 mission successfully landed on the far sides of the moon on 3 January 2019.

The Chinese Space Agency has recently released a new batch of never-before-seen images photographed on the far side of the moon, by its Chang’e 4 lander and Yutu-2 Rover.

Both the lander and the rover have greatly exceeded their expectations, and are heading to their fifth lunar day.

The lander and the rover were initially designed to last about three lunar days in total.

An image of the surface inside Von Kármán crater released 12 April 2019. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA.
An image of the surface inside Von Kármán crater released 12 April 2019. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA.

Both the lander and the rover are exploring the far side of the moon becoming the first robotic explorers to successfully do so. The new footage was snapped by the Chinese Mission offer unprecedented insight into the lunar mission.

Among their main goals, the lander and rover will analyze the chemical difference between the Earth-facing side of the moon and the mission’s target area.

Image of the Moon's far side landscape photographed by the Yutu-2 PCAM. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA.
Image of the Moon’s far side landscape photographed by the Yutu-2 PCAM. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA.

The mission hopes to understand more about the far side of the moon by studying the mineral composition of the lunar soil. The far side of the Moon, mistakenly refer to as the ‘dark side of the moon’  is the hemisphere of the Moon that always faces away from Earth.

The Yutu 2 Rover photographed its tracks and shadow. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA.
The Yutu 2 Rover photographed its tracks and shadow. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA.

The far side’s terrain is rugged with a multitude of impact craters and relatively few flat lunar maria.

The far side of the moon has one of the largest craters in the Solar System, the South Pole–Aitken basin, precisely where China’s Chang’e 4 mission landed.

A view from Yutu-2. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA.
A view from Yutu-2. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA.

Both the far side and the near side of the moon experience two weeks of sunlight followed by two weeks of night. Mistakenly, people refer to the far side the “dark side of the Moon“, meaning unseen rather than lacking light.

An Image taken by the Chang'e 4 lander, showing the Yutu-2 rover exploring the far side of the moon. Image Credit: CNSA.
An Image taken by the Chang’e 4 lander, showing the Yutu-2 rover exploring the far side of the moon. Image Credit: CNSA.

As explained by the Planetary Society, many details of the mission have still not emerged, but experts with the project revealed that the area currently being explored on the moon shows ‘potential evidence of excavated deep mafic material, which could reveal the mineralogy of the lunar mantle.’

The Yutu-2 Rover exploring the far side of the moon. Image Credit: CNSA.
The Yutu-2 Rover exploring the far side of the moon. Image Credit: CNSA.

Both the rover and the lander are now in hibernation mode and are expected to wake on April 28.

Via
The Planetary Society
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