China shows first images from far side of the moon

James Marshall
January 11, 2019

The stunning 360-degree panoramic photos, taken by a camera mounted on the top of the lunar lander, were relayed to the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Thursday.

The rover for China's Chang'e-4 mission has restarted activities following a period on standby as a precaution against high temperatures as the sun rose to its highest point over the landing site on the far side of the Moon.

A camera deployed on Chang'e-4 took a photo that was released by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) today. After making a soft landing on January 3 at 10:26 am, Chang'e 4 released a lunar rover to roam and survey its surroundings in the Von Karman crater, the moon's largest, oldest and deepest one, located in the South Pole-Aitken basin.

Despite being known as the "dark" side, the non-visible side of the moon receives just as much daylight as the earth facing side. "For the first time in human history, the spacecraft made a soft landing and patrol survey on the back of the moon, and for the first time realized the relay communication with the Earth on the back of the moon, and with many countries".

He said the Chang'e-4 landed at an altitude of almost minus 6,000 metres. The probe is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid obstacles on the ground. The Chinese mission was to land on the side of the moon that is never seen from earth due to the moon rotation, a phenomenon called "tidal locking".

Unlike the near side of the moon that offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged.

"From the video, we can see more dust was thrown up when the Chang'e-4 touched down on the far side of the moon compared with the landing of Chang'e-3, indicating that the lunar dust at the landing area of Chang'e-4 is thicker than the region where Chang'e-3 landed", said Zhang Hongbo, chief designer of the ground application system of Chang'e-4.

The mission is part of China's ambitious push to explore the Moon's resources and its potential as a space base.

It's a monumental achievement for China, which has been playing a bit of "catch up" in space exploration lately.

The scientists of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of NASA have also cooperated with Chang'e-4 mission team to study the landing of the Chang'e-4 probe, according to the CNSA.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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