Chinas Yutu 2 Rover Makes Tracks on Far Side of the Moon

first_imgStay on target First Plant to Grow on the Moon Is Probably DeadChina Reveals Detailed Photo of the Far Side of the Moon China’s Chang’e-4 probe has released its rover Yutu 2 to explore the far side of the moon after making the historic touchdown on the moon’s uncharted side on Thursday.Yutu 2 (also called Jade Rabbit 2) rolled off a ramp connected to the lander and began making tracks on the moon’s soft soil surface at 10.22 p.m. Beijing time, about 12 hours after Chang’e 4 landed.Photos of the rover leaving “humankind’s first tracks” were sent back to Earth by the lander after the rover separated from it. Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar mission for the China National Space Administration, called the separation “a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation.”#ICYMI Lunar rover of Chang’e 4 probe given the name “Yutu 2” pic.twitter.com/zQBFX3PbVo— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) January 4, 2019The rover, which weighs around 300 pounds, will explore the surrounding area of the far side of the moon, never before traversed. With the help of ground-penetrating radar, it will allow scientists to study the moon’s mysterious “dark side,” how its surface interacts with solar wind, and perhaps the process behind the formation of lunar water.The craft is also carrying a mini-greenhouse, which will test how well plants, such as small flowering Arabidopsis plants grow on the moon.The landing has been hailed as an important technical feat. Spacecraft have taken pictures of the moon’s far side before — a Soviet satellite took the first photographs of the far side in 1959, and the Apollo missions circled above it between 1968 and 1972 — but no lander has ever landed there.An image captured after the probe’s soft landing (Photo Credit: CNSA)It’s also  a major first step for China’s future lunar missions and bigger space ambitions. China hopes to send send its first astronaut by 2030.“We are building China into a space giant,” Dr. Wu said in his televised remarks.NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his congratulations to the Chinese lunar mission team. He posted: “Congratulations to China’s Chang’e-4 team for what appears to be a successful landing on the far side of the Moon. This is a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment!”More on Geek.com:China’s Lunar Probe Lands Safely on the Far Side of the MoonUS v. Russia Moon Race Is On Like Donkey KongChinese Company Debuts ‘World’s Cheapest Electric Car’last_img

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