Chinese Rover Wakes Up, Does Science, Goes Back to Sleep

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Chinese Rover Wakes Up, Does Science, Goes Back to Sleep

Instead, the same side of the moon always faces Earth, and the far side has been hidden from view for all of human history.

Chang'e 4 and Yutu 2 are the first probes to explore the far side of our nearest neighbor, so the data they return will be one of a kind. The soil is also much colder than that on the near side of the Moon. Those frigid temps are lower than what other missions have found on the opposite side of the Moon, and Chinese scientists believe the composition of the surface may play a role.

The Chinese Chang'e-4 lander and Yutu-2 rover have awakened following a freezing two-Earth-week long lunar nighttime on the far side of the Moon and are set to continue science and exploration activities. The Chang'e-4 probe switched to dormant mode during the lunar night due to lack of solar power.

China's Chang'e 4 mission has been a rousing success for the country's space agency, and it's already celebrated a number of 'firsts, ' including being the first lander to perform a soft landing on the far side of the Moon.

The static lander, which launched on 7 December, touched down at 10:26 am Beijing time on 3 January in the South Pole-Aitken basin.

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length.

"From the panorama, we could see the probe was surrounded by many small craters". Previously, the Chinese scientists had no data on exactly how cold it could be.

The Caribbean Astronomy Society experts also explained that "extreme temperatures are experienced on the dark side of the Moon".

"It was a success, but Chang'e-3 was designed according to foreign temperature data", said Zhang.

They were lower than those recorded by previous USA missions to the near side of the moon, Zhang He, executive director of the Chang´e-4 mission, told Xinhua news agency.

They were put to sleep as night fell roughly two weeks ago.

The rover and the lander carried a radioisotope heat source, which helped keep the probe warm during the lunar night.

The United States space agency said Friday that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is expected to image the landing site of China's lunar lander Chang'e-4 on January 31.

It is tasked with studying the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon´s surface. "It was really thrilling", said Li Chunlai, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and commander-in-chief of the ground application system of Chang'e-4.

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