China’s Chang’e-4 farside lander and rover have “self-awakened” on Thursday.

The exploration twosome have entered their 12th lunar day within the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

Chang’e-4 farside mission – lander and Yutu-2 rover

Stable state

The Yutu-2 rover woke up at 0:51 a.m. Beijing Time (BJT) and the lander at 5:03 p.m. BJT. Both devices and the specially positioned relay satellite are working normally and are in a stable state. The data reception and processing of ground stations are normal.

Queqiao relay spacecraft is in a halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the Earth-Moon system, utilized to set up a communication link between the Earth and the Moon’s farside.
Credit: CNSA

The probe has spent 322 days working on the farside of the Moon, and the rover has traveled roughly 1,045 feet (318.62) meters across the lunar landscape.

Scientific payloads

During this working period, the lunar surface neutron and radiation dose detector, low-frequency radio frequency spectrometer and other scientific payloads on the lander will continue scientific exploration of the lunar surface environment.

The Yutu-2 rover will keep following a planned route.

The panoramic camera, lunar radar, infrared imaging spectrometer, neutral atom detector and other scientific payloads on the rover will carry out scientific exploration at different detection points.

Chang’e-4 was dispatched to the Moon on December 8, 2018, making the first-ever soft landing on the farside of the Moon.

Chang’e-5 mission is intended to return lunar specimens back to Earth.
Credit: CCTV/Screengrab/Inside Outer Space

Return sample mission

Meanwhile, work is ongoing on readying the Chang’e-5 mission for launch in 2020, designed to rocket back to Earth 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) of lunar samples.

That mission, however, is predicated on a successful return-to-flight of the powerful Long March-5 carrier rocket.

Long March-5 booster’s first liftoff occurred in early November 2016. Mishap on launcher’s second flight in July 2017. Progress for a return-to-flight Long March-5 mission appears to be underway for possible flight late this year.
Credit: CASC

The second Long March-5 rocket roared from China’s Wenchang Space Launch Center in the southern province of Hainan on July 2, 2017. The flight suffered a malfunction less than six minutes after liftoff, causing an over two year mishap investigation by Chinese rocketeers.

The third Long March-5 rocket is now at the Wenchang Space Launch Center for a new flight, expected before year’s end.


Leave a Reply