China broadcasts spacecraft pictures from moon's far side

China Clearly a Country in a Hurry When It Comes to Space

China Clearly a Country in a Hurry When It Comes to Space

The Chang'e-4 mission - named after a moon goddess - made the world's first soft landing on the moon's far side on January 3.

The Chang'e-4 probe is equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon's surface, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

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

The landing site is a smooth plain within the crater Von Kármán on the moon's dark side.

In 2013, China became just the third country, after the US and the then-Soviet Union, to successfully "soft land" on the Moon when its Chang'e 3 lander reached the lunar surface.

Transmitted from a relay satellite to a control centre in Beijing, the pictures were first aired by state broadcaster CCTV.

One of the published images is a 360-degree panorama which was pieced together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after the rover drove onto the lunar surface, according to Li Chunlai, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and commander-in-chief of the ground application system of Chang'e-4. The rugged terrain will pose great challenges for planning the route of the rover.

China on Friday broadcast pictures taken by its rover and lander on the far side of the moon, in what its space programme hailed as another triumph for the groundbreaking mission.

The mission consists of two robots: the Chang'e 4 lander and the Yutu 2 rover.

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

Humanity has sent dozens of probes to the near side of the moon, however, Chang'e 4 is the first spacecraft to reach the far side, which is more hard due to communication problems stemming from the fact that an entire relay system is necessary in order to pass messages to mission control.

The Chang'e 4 lander, as seen by the Yutu 2 rover.

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