China’s farside rover images Chang’e-4 lander in the distance.

China’s Chang’e-4 mission to the Moon’s farside has survived another cold shock from 14-days of lunar night.

The lander and rover have resumed work for a 29th lunar day.

Reports the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), The lander woke up at 9:43 p.m. Tuesday (Beijing Time), and the Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2) rover, awoke at 3:54 a.m. Tuesday.

Chang’e-4 farside lander and Yutu-2 rover.

The two machines had switched to dormant mode during the lunar night due to the lack of solar power.

They have survived about 825 Earth days on the Moon.

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

Lander, rover location

Wheeling about in the northwest of Chang’e-4’s landing site, the rover has traveled roughly 2,240 feet (682.8 meters).

The linear distance between the rover and the Chang’e-4 lander is about 1,493 feet (455 meters), according to a Xinhua news report.

During its 29th lunar day, the rover will continue to move northwest toward the basalt distribution area located about 0.746 miles (1.2 kilometers) away from the rover.

Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar exploration program, presents the Chang’e-4 rover.
Credit: CCTV/Screengrab

The equipment aboard the rover, including a panoramic camera, an infrared imaging spectrometer, a neutral atom detector and a radar, will continue to carry out scientific explorations.

The Chang’e-4 probe, launched on Dec. 8, 2018, made the first-ever soft landing within the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the farside of the Moon on January 3, 2019.

Space station work

Meanwhile, China’s human spaceflight program is pushing forward on readying the Tianhe Core Module for liftoff. That hardware is the foundation element of the Chinese space station expected to be in operation around 2022.

Core module of China’s space station.
Credit: CMS/Inside Outer Space screengrab

This key module — along with its Long March 5B booster —  are both at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China’s Hainan Province, expected to be launched in the first half of this year.

A total of 12 Chinese astronauts will enter space in 11 missions launched under China’s manned space program over the next two years, said Yang Liwei, the country’s first astronaut, in a recent China Central Television (CCTV) interview.

China’s space station expected to be completed around 2022.
CMS/Inside Outer Space screengrab

“After we launch the core module, we will send a cargo spacecraft to dock with it. And then we will launch the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft. That’s why I say it is critical this year, as all the flight missions rely on our core module, and it must succeed. The launch of the core module will be a milestone indeed,” Yang added.

Significant and symbolic

“For Experiment Modules I and II that we will launch next year,” Yang said, “they both need to be docked with the core module, which is of significant and symbolic meaning to the whole space station program of China. Only after we launch the space station to outer space, will we truly enter the phase of verification and building of the space station.”

Credit: CMS/CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

This year and next, while China’s space station is being built, Yang said four crewed spaceflight missions will be carried out. “We have chosen the astronauts for the four crews, and are now training them for each of the missions. There will be experienced and new astronauts assigned to each crew, and you will see many familiar faces among them,” he told CCTV.

In total, China’s astronaut corps consists of 34 individuals.

Leave a Reply