China space race: Chang’E-4 lunar lander beams dark side of the Moon panorama

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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