Image of China’s Yutu-2 lunar rover taken by Chang’e-4 lander.
Credit: CNSA/CLEP

 

China’s lunar rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, has driven nearly 540 feet (163 meters) on the Moon’s farside. Controllers on Earth expect the machinery to work longer than its three-month design life.

Both the rover and the lander of the Chang’e-4 lunar probe switched to a dormant mode on Wednesday as the extremely cold lunar night fell, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The Chang’e-4 mission landed in Von Kármán crater within the South Pole-Aitken Basin on January 3.

Farside photo from Yutu-2 rover.
Credit: CNSA/CLEP

Lightest rover

The nearly 300 pound (135 kilograms) Yutu-2 is the first ever device to drive on the farside, as well as being the lightest rover ever sent to the Moon.

As reported by China’s Xinhua news service, scientists anticipate that Jade Rabbit-2 will travel farther to send more images of the unknown terrain, “listen” to the stories recorded in the ancient lunar rocks, and find more traces of the early history of the Moon and the solar system.

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