A little over a year has passed since the Chinese Chang’e 4 lander and the Yutu 2 lunar rover landed on the far side of the moon. All this time they studied the Von Karman crater and shared the results of their discoveries through a single communication source in the form of a relay satellite Queqiao, transmitting signals to Earth. As part of a research mission, Chang’e and his “colleague” shared photos of that part of the lunar surface that is hidden from the Earth observer due to gravitational capture of the Earth.
What does the far side of the moon look like?
The mysterious companion of the Earth in endless outer space gradually begins to reveal its unexplored sides. According to an article published on sciencealert.com, the Chinese moon exploration program has just released a batch of high-resolution photos from Chang’e 4’s landing camera and Yutu 2 panoramic camera. The images were taken over 12 lunar days, each of which corresponds to approximately 29 Earth . During a long lunar day, the mission is in the constant sunlight necessary for operations using solar energy. After the working cycle, the devices turn off on a two-week night, and half of the earth’s satellite plunges into darkness.
Over the course of the year, the lunar rover traveled along a winding path through the 180-kilometer von Karman crater, which is part of the Aitken basin, whose dimensions are more than a quarter of the moon. A huge amount of data obtained as a result of the mission can shed light not only on the satellite’s history and the causes of the mysterious shock basin, but also answer unexplored questions regarding the evolution of the solar system as a whole.
China’s next Chang’e 5 mission is due to start in late 2020. However, the new module will not head towards the shadow side of the moon like its predecessor. Instead, the mission will have to collect about two kilograms of lunar samples, bringing them later to Earth. If the Chang’e 5 program is successful, humanity will be able to access the lunar samples delivered from the satellite since 1976. Experts hope that samples of lunar rock will help in planning future expeditions to the moon, in particular, the NASA’s Artemis mission.