Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Science | By Cecil Little

Chinese lunar probe snaps breathtaking panoramic PHOTOS of Moon’s far side

Chinese lunar probe snaps breathtaking panoramic PHOTOS of Moon’s far side

Chang'e 4 made the historic touchdown on the moon's surface on 3 January and used its terrain camera to take 360-degree shots of the Von Kármán crater where it had landed, Vice's Motherboard reported.

The Chang'e-4 probe - named after a moon goddess - made the world's first soft landing on the moon's "dark side" on January 3, a major step in China's ambitions to become a space superpower.

A rover dubbed Yutu-2 - the name of the moon goddess's pet, the "Jade Rabbit" - successfully separated from the lander and drove onto the moon's surface yesterday. The machines took each other's portraits.

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". The rover is powered by solar panels.

The picture shows the grey moonscape, the lander and the rover with the track marks it left behind.

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The panoramic view of the far side of the Moon captured by the Change'e 4 lander.

It is the first time a soft landing has been performed on the Moon's far side - also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown - due to challenges relaying signals.

The moon's surface on this side is thicker and more pitted than the familiar earth facing side.

CLEP said: "The ground receiving image was clear and intact, the Chinese and foreign scientific loads were working normally, and the detection data was valid".

The panorama also shows the edges of some of the science instruments onboard the Chang'e 4 lander itself.

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A congratulations note from Chinese authorities was delivered by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center after the successful photos were sent back.

The deepest region on the moon, with a depth of 9,100 meters (5.7 miles), is about 700 kilometers (435 miles) to the south of the probe, Li said.

"The information from the depths of the moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration". In a press release, CNSA said their Chang'e 4 mission was a success, and thanked "significant global cooperation", for their major space milestone.

The video, lasting about 12 minutes, shows the probe adjusted its altitude, hovered and avoided obstacles during the descent process.

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