Yutu-2 farside rover – back on farside duty.


China’s Chang’e-4 farside lander and rover have resumed work for the ninth lunar day.

According to China’s Xinhua news agency, the lander woke up at 8:10 a.m. Sunday, and the rover, Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2), awoke at 8:42 a.m. Saturday, sourcing the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

Dormant mode

Updated Yutu-2 map.
Credit: Phil Stooke/Department of Geography at the University of Western Ontario

Sent moonward on December 8, 2018, the Chang’e-4 mission made the first-ever soft landing at Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the farside of the Moon on January 3, 2019.

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length. The Chang’e-4 lander and rover switch to dormant mode during the chilly lunar night due to the deficient of solar power.


Scientific tasks

Xinhua adds that, for the ninth lunar day, the lander’s neutron radiation detector and low-frequency radio detector, as well as the rover’s infrared imaging spectrometer and other instruments will be restarted to conduct scientific tasks including lunar surface observation and composition analysis.

The Chang’e-4 mission includes low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure and measuring neutron radiation and neutral atoms, the Xinhua story explains.

China’s farside mission includes four payloads developed by the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

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