Chinese rover begins exploring far side of the moon

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Chinese rover begins exploring far side of the moon

The spacecraft's instrument sweet will allow Chang'e-4 to measure the mineral composition of the moon's far side.

The Chang'e-4 spacecraft scripted history on Thursday when it made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon.

While China is the first to land a spacecraft on the far side, there have been plenty of detailed photographs taken by orbiting spacecraft.

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, atop the probe, extended its solar panel, stretched out its mast and started to slowly fly to the lunar surface Thursday night.

Nevertheless, this is a significant step in China's bid to become a leading power in space exploration, alongside the United States and Russian Federation.

After the successful landing, experts verified the conditions of "Queqiao", meaning Magpie Bridge, which was launched in May of 2018 to set up the communication link between the Earth and the moon's far side.

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".

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 has a maximum speed of 200 metres (220 yards) per hour and can climb a 20-degree hill or an obstacle up to 20 centimetres (8 inches) tall.

The rover Chang'e-4, which is named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, landed at 10:26 a.m. Beijing time in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, which is an impact crater, state news agency Xinhua reported.

One Hong Kong Twitter user claimed that a reliable Chinese spaceflight source confirmed that the Chang'e-4 has indeed touched down on the Moon.

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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