The Chinese space agency (CNSA) made history in the new year when Chang’E-4 touched down on the previously unseen dark side of the Moon. The touch down was lauded as a major technical achievement representing an ascendent Chinese state. And Chang’E-4’s Moon mission is already bearing fruit, following the release of stunning panoramas of the desolate lunar landscape.
Chang’E-4’s 360-degree on-board camera captured the Jade Rabbit 2 rover in front of a lunar south pole’s monochrome moonscape.
The remarkable pictures reveal a potholed and barren expanse inside the celestial satellite’s Von Kármán crater.
And eternally immortalised tracks left from Yutu-2’s maiden voyage away from Chang’E-4 are visible snaking over the virgin surface.
Pictures posted on Chinese social media also show the shots Chang’E-4, and its Yutu-2 rover took images of each other.
This extraterrestrial photoshoot is testament to Chinese made cutting-edge technology incorporated to explore the mysterious lunar region.
The machinery must survive the truly taxing conditions in space.
These include a blistering 200C lunar daytime lasting the equivalent of 14 Earth days.
And these unforgiving temperatures are exacerbated by the Moon’s lack of atmosphere.
This means the heat is relentless and unabated, unlike here on Earth.
Jade Rabbit 2 was yesterday woken from a “nap” to conserve its energy ahead of the transition to a 300 hour-long lunar night.
And dramatic video has also been released showing Chang’E-4 touching down on the inhospitable South Pole-Aitken Basin, the solar system’s largest impact crater.
The Chinese space agency statement coinciding with the vista release said: “Researchers have completed the preliminary analysis of the lunar surface topography around the landing site based on the image taken by the landing camera.
“All three components of the mission are in a stable condition, and all work was carried out as planned.”
A post from the Yutu-2 rover’s Weibo account added: “Would you like to take a 360-degree moon walk?
“Here is a high-resolution panoramic photo of the moon taken by my fourth sister.
“Just now, my fourth sister looked around and captured the environment around us with a ring-shaped topographic camera, which included me, can you see?”
China’s communist party has also released a statement: “The central committee of the Community Party of China, State Council and Central Military Commission send messages of congratulation to the successful completion of the Chang’e 4 moon-probing project.”