Chang'e-4: Chinese rover now exploring Moon

The Yutu 2 rover moving farther across the moon's surface

The Yutu 2 rover moving farther across the moon's surface

China's lunar rover drives smoothly on moon's far side By Xinhua Saturday, January 05, 2019, 11:35 By Xinhua Photo provided by the China National Space Administration on Jan 4, 2019 shows image of Yutu-2, China's lunar rover, at preset location A on the surface of the far side of the moon. A photo released by the agency showed the rover stopped at a point not far from where the Chang'e 4 spacecraft touched down on Thursday.

The Yutu-2 rover moves across the far side of the Moon.

Lunar exploration chief Wu Weiren echoed Neil Armstrong's famous quote, telling state media the event marked a "huge stride" for China. The far side has been observed many times from lunar orbits, but never explored on the surface.

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.

One of the challenges of exploring the far side of the moon is communication.

China's space programme lags America's, but has made great strides in the past 15 years, including manned flights and a space laboratory that is seen as a precursor to plans for a space station.

"I think this is very good evidence that we are now able to compete with the Americans", said energy company employee Yao Dajun.

Chang'e-4 includes two main parts: the main lander weighing about 1,088 pounds and a 136-kilogramme rover.

The news inspired dreamier thoughts for advertising employee Shang Yuegang.

Chang'e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the moons' far side.

The Yutu-2 rover has six wheels that all have power, so it can continue to operate even if one wheel fails. It can climb a 20-degree hill or an obstacle up to 20 centimeters (8 inches) tall.

"The surface is soft and it is similar to that when you are walking on the snow", rover designer Shen Zhenrong of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said on CCTV.

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