On January 2nd, 2019, China’s Chang’e-4 lander made a successful landing on the far side of the Moon. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) report that after 9 days on the surface, the mission is in good shape. The Yutu-2 rover has been deployed and has begun exploring the Von Karman crater.
CNSA has released some video of the mission, including a video of Chang’e-4’s historic descent. Thanks to the hard-working people at the Planetary Society, and to Andrew Jones who reports on the Chinese Space Program, we have a handful of new videos and images of the Chang’e-4’s mission to enjoy.
The first video shows Chang’e-4’s descent into the Von Karman crater. The CLEP chose the crater as its landing site because of the crater’s depth. Von Karman is a crater-within-a-crater, and it’s possible that the impact event blasted away the crust and exposed some of the Moon’s mantle. The CLEP is using Chang’e-4 to examine the chemical and geological nature of the area, and to try and discover more about the Moon’s formation and interior.
The video is sped up, and the views-cape makes it hard to determine exactly how close the lander is to the surface. There’s nothing for reference, and there’s no way to tell how large the craters are. It’s only at about 2:10 in the video that you can determine how close to the surface Chang’e-4 is, when the thrusters blow dust around.
Next are two videos of the Yutu-2 rover on the far side of the Moon. The first one shows the rover leaving the lander.
The next video shows Yutu-2 travelling on the lunar surface after deployment.
There are also some images of the mission: one of the rover, one of the lander, and the mission’s first panoramic image.
Reporter Andrew Jones also tweeted this picture, showing the lander, the rover, and it’s path so far.
For Universe Today’s coverage of this historic mission to the far side of the Moon, try these:
- China’s Chang’e-4 Lands on the Far Side of the Moon
- China’s Yutu-2 rover is on the move on the far side of the Moon
- Planetary Society: Chang’e-4 update: Both vehicles healthy, new imagery from the Moon’s far side
- Bad Astronomy: Amazing video: Chinese lander and rover descend to the Moon’s far side!
- Wikipedia: Von Kármán (lunar crater)