Science

China's Yutu 2 Rover Makes Tracks on Far Side of the Moon

China's Yutu 2 Rover Makes Tracks on Far Side of the Moon”

Chang'e-4 includes two main parts: the main lander weighing about 1,088 pounds and a 136-kilogramme rover.

At 10:26 Beijing time (02:26 GMT), January 3, China achieved a world first when it landed its Chang'e 4 probe in the South Pole-Aitken Basin of the moon.

"Lunar rover Yutu-2 or Jade Rabbit-2, left the first-ever "footprint" from a human spacecraft on the far side of the moon late at night on Thursday, after it separated from the lander smoothly", state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

This would be a historic achievement for mankind as a whole as the rugged terrain of the Moon's far side has made it hard for vehicles to land safely there.

The craft's rover, called Yutu 2, has started to make its way across the lunar surface.

China's space agency says all systems are go for its spacecraft and rover that have made a pioneering landing on the far side of the moon.

"This space mission shows that China has reached the advanced world-class level in deep space exploration", Zhu Menghua, a professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology who has worked closely with China's space administration, told The New York Times. With the help of ground-penetrating radar, it will allow scientists to study the moon's mysterious "dark side", how its surface interacts with solar wind, and perhaps the process behind the formation of lunar water.

It is the second Chinese spacecraft to land on the only natural satellite of our planet, following the Yutu rover mission in 2013.

The rover, also known as Jade Rabbit 2, has six powered wheels, so it can keep working even if one fails, according to The Associated Press. It can climb a 20-degree hill or an obstacle up to 8 inches tall.

Lunar exploration chief Wu Weiren echoed Neil Armstrong's famous quote, telling state media the event marked a "huge stride" for China.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Weiren told the state broadcaster CCTV: "The separation of Chang'e 4's rover was smooth and flawless".

The rover, which weighs around 300 pounds, will explore the surrounding area of the far side of the moon, never before traversed.



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