China’s lunar rover drives smoothly on moon’s far side

Yutu 2 leaving track marks as it begins to explore the surface of the far side of the moon

Lunar rover Yutu-2 has been driving on the far side of the moon after separating from the lander and scientific devices on both the lander and rover are now gathering data, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said late Friday.

Yutu 2 leaving track marks as it begins to explore the surface of the far side of the moon.

Spacecraft have taken pictures of the moon's far side before - a Soviet satellite took the first photographs of the far side in 1959, and the Apollo missions circled above it between 1968 and 1972 - but no lander has ever landed there.

Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Lunar Exploration Project, told CCTV it was "a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation", according to the AP. When Earth views a darkened new moon, the far side is lit.

"It's just the far side, it can be either dark or light", Loeb said, depending on the time of day.

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The head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, Thursday congratulated the Chinese colleagues on the successful landing of the Chang'e-4 probe. Both China's space community and public have taken pride in the accomplishment, with some drawing comparisons to the United States.

"The Chang'e-4, carrying eight payloads, will conduct low-frequency radio astronomical observation, survey the terrain and landforms, detect the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure and measure the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the Moon". "You can get on the moon and so can we - I think this is very good".

The Chinese rover has six powered wheels, allowing it to continue to operate even if one wheel fails.

The Yutu 2 rover moving farther across the moon's surface. The far side is popularly called the "dark side" because it can't be seen from Earth and is relatively unknown, not because it lacks sunlight.

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