Chang’e-4 far side mission – lander and Yutu-2 rover.

China’s robotic Moon explorer, Yutu-2, or the Jade Rabbit-2, continues to send back images from the lunar far side.

The Chang’e-4 Moon mission lander and rover touched down on the Moon on January 3, 2019.

Four years on, the lunar rover Yutu-2, named after the pet rabbit of the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e, has collected valuable data on solar wind and cloddy soil research, gel-like rocks and craters on the Moon, according to a China Central Television (CCTV) report.

Credit: CNSA/CLEP (early mission photo)

Safety consideration

“In order to map out the route for Yutu-2, we need to use its navigation camera to learn about the position of the rover before recovering and analyzing the terrain. The rover can climb 20-to-30-degree slopes,” said Li Chunlai, deputy chief designer of the third phase of China’s lunar exploration project.

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

“Since the soil on the Moon is relatively loose, we don’t want to risk it to walk through steep slopes for safety consideration so as to minimize the damage to Yutu-2,” said Li told CCTV.

In fact, the designated service life of the rover was said to be only three months, but it has now worked for a record four years on the Moon.

Chang’e-4 landing site.


Good condition

Currently, the wheeled robot is located around 2,625 feet (800 meters) away from its landing site, in the west-north direction and is in good condition together with its scientific payloads.

“We expect the jade rabbit can achieve further progress in its palace of the Moon as we will continue to contribute in lunar exploration,” said Ouyang Ziyuan, first chief scientist of China’s lunar exploration project and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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