China Releases New Panoramic Footage of the Moon’s Far Side
China Releases New Panoramic Footage of the Moon’s Far Side
China's Yutu 2 rover explores the far side of the moon shortly after its Jan. 2 2019 touchdown. Credit CNSA
12 January, 2019, 08:25
China on Friday (January 11) announced that the Chang'e-4 mission, the first-ever probe to land on the Moon's dark side, was a "complete success" as it transmitted images back to earth through a special relay satellite, according to a PTI report.
The rover and lander began testing and calibrating instruments, with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) releasing images of the activity from lander monitoring cameras.
The lander succeeded in its first task of deploying its rover - named Yutu-2 - which has started exploring the Moon's Von Karman crater.
A Chinese lunar probe, which landed on the far side of the Moon earlier in January this year, has sent first panoramic image of the Moon's dark side.
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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 pictures show a rocky surface with the jagged edges of craters in the background, which will pose a challenge for controllers in plotting the rover's travels, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
"From the panorama, we can see the probe is surrounded by lots of small craters, which was really thrilling", said Li.
Li said that one of the craters close to the rover Yutu-2 has a diameter of about 20 meters and a depth of about 4 meters.
Despite being known as the "dark" side, the non-visible side of the moon receives just as much daylight as the earth facing side.
Expected on Friday are the release of images from one or both of the lander's Terrain Camera (TCAM) and the rover's Panoramic Camera (PCAM).
China's National Space Administration (CNSA) has made public a batch of selected photos, inducing a 360-degree panorama taken by a camera installed atop the lander. The probe is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid obstacles on the ground.
The SPA Basin, where the Chang'e-4 probe landed, is the largest and deepest basin in the solar system, with a diameter of 2,500 km and a depth of more than 10 km.
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