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China’s Yutu 2 rover of Chang’e-4 makes landing on the ‘dark side’ of moon
The Chang’e-4 spacecraft of China touched down on the far side of the Moon on January 3, 2019. It touched down at a targeted area near the moon’s south pole in the Von Karman Crater.
Previous Moon missions have landed on the Earth-facing side, but this is the first attempt to explore the far side from the surface.
The Yutu 2 rover that landed on Moon, is named after the pet rabbit belonging to the mythical Chinese lunar goddess Chang’e.
The landing represents the first ever such attempt and landing on the far side of the Moon, which has distinct characteristics to the near side we can see from Earth.
The event was captured by the camera on the lander and the images were sent back to the Earth via the relay satellite “Queqiao” which was launched in May 2018 for satellite link.
Lunar exploration chief Wu Weiren echoed Neil Armstrong’s famous quote, telling state media the event marked a “huge stride” for China.
The rover and lander are carrying instruments to analyse the unexplored region’s geology.
According to the BBC, landing on the far side isn’t fundamentally different to landing on the near side of the Moon. But it presents a communications challenge because there’s no direct line of sight to Earth.
The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side — or “dark side” — is never visible to us.