Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

"Unexplored!" --China Releases First Photos of Moon's Far Side

"For the first time in human history, the spacecraft made a soft landing and patrol survey on the back of the moon, and for the first time, realized the relay communication with the Earth on the back of the moon, and with many countries".

The lander succeeded in its first task of deploying its rover - named Yutu-2 - which has started exploring the Moon's Von Karman crater.

The Chang'e 4 spacecraft - the first ever to land on the far side of the moon, released landing footage and panoramic pictures on Friday.

One of the published images is a 360-degree panorama which was pieced together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after the rover drove onto the lunar surface, according to Li Chunlai, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and commander-in-chief of the ground application system of Chang'e-4.

The Jade Rabbit 2 rover shows off with its moon tracks in this image snapped by the Chang'e 4 lunar lander.

At 4:47 p.m. BJT on Friday, the images of the lander and the rover appeared on a large screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, showing the Chinese national flag on both the lander and the rover with the desolate landscape dotted with craters on the far side of the moon as the background.

An image of the Chang'e lander taken by the Yutu 2 rover.

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Researchers hope that low-frequency observations of the cosmos from the far side of the moon, where radio signals from Earth are blocked, will help scientists learn more about the early days of the solar system and birth of the universe's first stars.

"From the panorama, we can see the probe is surrounded by lots of small craters, which was really thrilling", said Li.

Unlike the near side of the moon that offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged.

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

"The information from the depths of the Moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration", Li said.

CNSA will also study the "Lunar Micro Ecosystem", which was previously installed on the Chang'e 4 lander. The probe is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid obstacles on the ground.

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