Previously released image of Chang’e-4 lander taken by Yutu-2 rover.


China’s Chang’e-4 lander and rover are in good shape following a cold spell on the Moon. They were put to sleep as night fell roughly two weeks ago at the Von Kármán crater landing site.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on Thursday that the lander woke up at 8:39 pm Wednesday. The rover, Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2), awoke at about 8:00 pm Tuesday.

Yutu-2 lunar rover, ready for exploration duties. Credit: CNSA/CLEP

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length.

Relay satellite connection

CNSA also noted that communication and data transmission between Earth ground control and the farside hardware via the relay satellite Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) are stable.

Chang’e-4 relay link.
Credit: CCTV/Screengrab/Inside Outer Space

Both the lander and the rover ended the dormant mode automatically according to the elevation angle of sunlight now available at Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. Furthermore, key instruments have started to work.

Presently, the rover is located about 60 feet (18 meters) northwest of the lander.

Farside temps

As reported by China’s Xinhua news service: “According to the measurements of Chang’e-4, the temperature of the shallow layer of the lunar soil on the farside of the Moon is lower than the data obtained by the U.S. Apollo mission on the near side of the Moon,” said Zhang He, executive director of the Chang’e-4 probe project, from the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).

“That’s probably due to the difference in lunar soil composition between the two sides of the moon. We still need more careful analysis,” Zhang added.

Chang’e-4’s farside landing zone.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Deep plunge

The lander and rover are outfitted with a radioisotope heat source.

The lander was also equipped with an isotope thermoelectric cell and dozens of temperature data collectors to measure the temperatures on the surface of the Moon during the lunar night, the Xinhua story notes.

China’s Global Television Network (CGTN) reports the first night’s temperature detection data, the temperature on the lunar surface plunged to a minimum of minus 190 degrees Celsius during the night.

Go to this CCTV News Agency video at:

3 Responses to “China’s Chang’e-4 Farside Mission: Cold Spell Survivors”

  • the lander will find colder dirt it’s on the dark side of the moon I enjoy reading about this kind of news next they’ll be on the moon with people and can control the Earth??? We better get back on the moon quick

  • R. J. Hiney says:

    Nice work!!! Congratulations
    Too bad the camera was low resolution–it would have made for some spectacular finds on the rock formations due to heat and cold fluctuations.

  • You made several nice points there. I did a search on the issue and found the majority of folks will consent with your blog.

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