Farside photo from Yutu-2 rover.

On the farside of the Moon, China’s Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu-2 rover have resumed work for the 15th lunar after “sleeping” during the extremely cold night.

China’s Chang’e-4 lander as viewed by Yutu-2 rover.

According to the Xinhua News Agency the lander woke up at 6:57 a.m. Tuesday (Beijing time), and the rover at 5:55 p.m. Monday.

Reportedly, both are in normal working order.

On a roll

The wheeled Yutu-2 or Jade Rabbit-2 rover has traveled a little over 1,204 feet (367.25) meters with a plan to drive northwest and then southwest to continue its scientific exploration.

The Chang’e-4 mission was launched on December 8, 2018, making the first-ever soft landing within the Von Kármán crater, a large lunar impact feature that is located in the southern hemisphere on the farside of the Moon.

Chang’e-5 lunar lander.
Credit CCTV Video News Agency/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Next up

China’s next Moon exploration mission is slated to be the Chang’e-5, a multi-staged effort to rocket lunar samples back to Earth later this year. According to Chinese news services, Chang’e-5 is comprised of four parts including the orbiter, ascender, lander, and Earth reentry module.

Chinese engineers are completing work on the Chang’e-5 lunar mission for a launch later this year. If successful, this robotic spacecraft would attempt the first lunar sample return to Earth in over 40 years.

Apollo 17 mission in December 1972 surveyed the Taurus-Littrow highlands and valley area.
Credit: NASA

The former Soviet Union successfully executed three robotic sample return missions: Luna 16 returned a small sample (101 grams) from Mare Fecunditatis in September of 1970; February 1972, Luna 20 returned 55 grams of soil from the Apollonius highlands region; Luna 24 retrieved 170.1 grams of lunar samples from the Moon’s Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis) for return to Earth in August 1976.

The last samples from the Moon to reach Earth came via the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.

For a behind-the-scenes look at getting China’s Chang’e-5 ready for its lunar mission, go to this CCTV-Plus video:

Also, this video is informative:


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