Chinese Moon Rover Making Tracks on Lunar Far Side

China's far side of the moon mission is just the start of its space ambitions

Chinese Moon Rover Making Tracks on Lunar Far Side

"On behalf of Roscosmos State Corporation and on my own behalf, I want to congratulate you and the entire team of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on the successful launch of the Chang'e-4 mission - the first soft landing on the far side of the moon in the history of mankind", Rogozin said in a letter of congratulation published at Roscosmos's website.

So scientists call the area where a Chinese spacecraft just landed the far side, not the dark side. A photo posted online by China's space agency showed tracks left by the rover as it headed away from the spacecraft.

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.

Yutu 2 (also called Jade Rabbit 2) rolled off a ramp connected to the lander and began making tracks on the moon's soft soil surface at 10.22 p.m. Beijing time, about 12 hours after Chang'e 4 landed.

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

Zhu Menghua, a professor at Macau University of Science and Technology who worked with Beijing on the mission, said the mission's success is a major milestone for the country and establishes it as a pioneer in space exploration.

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. 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". It is also able to climb 20-degree hills and objects 8 inches tall.

China's Chang'e 4 craft captured a close-up photo of the far side of the moon.

"With the communication assistance of the relay satellite Queqiao, the lander sent back the first-ever close-up photograph of the Moon's far side, opening a new chapter in lunar exploration". "This is a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment!"

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