Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Chinese rover powers up devices in pioneering moon mission

China's Yutu 2 rover moving across the far side of the moon China's Yutu 2 rover moving across the far side of the moon
Cary Marshall | 05 January, 2019, 12:08

Previous landings, including one by China's Chang'e 3 in 2013, have been on the near side.

In this photo provided on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, Yutu-2, China's lunar rover, leaves wheel marks after leaving the lander that touched down on the surface of the far side of the moon.

The six-wheeled rover, known as Yutu 2, isn't pausing to catch its breath, as a newly released photo shows.

The Yutu-2 rover. Image credit: CNSA.

A Chinese lunar rover began exploring the terrain on Friday in the world's first mission on the surface of the far side of the moon.

The Yutu 2 rover moving farther across the moon's surface.

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

All systems are go as a Chinese spacecraft and rover power up their observation equipment after making a first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, the Chinese National Space Administration said. It has a maximum speed of 0.1 miles per hour and can climb a 20-degree hill or mount an obstacle up to 8 inches tall, the report said.

The rover, which weighs around 300 pounds, will explore the surrounding area of the far side of the moon, never before traversed. Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar exploration project, told the state broadcaster CCTV: "This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe".

Chang'e 4's images and data come home via a relay satellite called Queqiao, which is parked at a gravitationally stable spot beyond the moon.

China was the first to complete a "soft landing", without damage, on the far side of the moon. "This is a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment!"

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