First 360-degree image of the far side of the Moon released

China Clearly a Country in a Hurry When It Comes to Space

China's Chang'e-4 probe and its rover Yutu-2, took photos of each other on Friday, marking a successful mission to the far side of the moon. The other face, most of which can not be seen from Earth, is called the far side or dark side of the Moon, not because it is dark, but because most of it is uncharted.

The far side of the moon, which previously remained unexplored, will now be studied by CNSA for the first time.

The rover, which had been put in "standby" mode to protect it from the Sun's heat, was then switched on and, along with the Chang'e-4 probe, took pictures of the landing site and its surroundings.

Broadcast by state televison channel CCTV, the pictures show the Jade Rabbit 2 rover and the Chang'e 4 spacecraft that transported it to the dark side of the moon.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is giving us a firsthand look at a mysterious part of the moon after placing its Chang'e 4 lander on the lunar far side in early January. The rugged terrain will pose great challenges for planning the route of the rover, said Li.

The moon is "tidally locked" to Earth in its rotation so the same side is always facing Earth.

The CNSA also released a video of the landing process of the Chang'e-4, which was produced by processing more than 4,700 pictures taken by a camera on the probe.

Instead, signals are sent from the lunar surface up to a relay satellite called Queqiao, which launched in May 2018 and is hovering in an orbital "parking spot" from which it can communicate with Earth.

Scientists have said the far side is a key area for solving several unknowns about the moon, including its internal structure and thermal evolution.

He said the Chang'e-4 landed at an altitude of almost minus 6,000 meters.

"The thicker dust shows that the lunar regolith in the region has undergone longer space weathering, which also gives strong evidence of the region being older".

"We chose a vertical descent strategy to avoid the influence of the mountains on the flight track", Zhang He, executive director of the Chang'e-4 project said in a statement.

"We hope Chang'e-4 could carry out unprecedented and more challenging tasks", said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program.

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