"Unexplored!" --China Releases First Photos of Moon's Far Side


Chinese astronomers have made a preliminary analysis of the terrain and landform surrounding the location of the probe and its Yutu rover, now near the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin.

Even though several lunar missions have been conducted by countries like the U.S., earth's natural satellite is still shrouded with mysteries, especially the dark side of the moon.

The Chang'e 4 mission is the first to land on the moon's far side. According to the China National Space Administration (CNSA), several of those instruments, which are collaborations between China and other governments, have already been turned on.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is giving us a firsthand look at a mysterious part of the moon after placing its Chang'e 4 lander on the lunar far side in early January.

The spacecraft is equipped with radar, cameras, and spectrometers for studying the far side of the Moon.

Transmitted from a relay satellite to a control centre in Beijing, the pictures were first aired by state broadcaster CCTV. Among the images is a 360-degree panorama stitched together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after it released the rover onto the lunar surface. There are also very few of the "maria" - dark basaltic "seas" created by lava flows - that are evident on the more familiar near side.

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The craters close to the rover - including one that was 20 meters wide (65 feet) with a depth of about four meters (13 feet) - will pose great challenges when planning its route, Li said.

Wu also revealed that China has plans to build a research station at the South Polar region of the moon.

He said the Chang'e-4 landed at an altitude of almost minus 6,000 metres.

We Earthlings only ever get to glimpse one face of the Moon since the satellite is tidal locked to our planet.

Because the panorama was captured by the Chang'e 4 lander, it shows on the left the Yutu 2 rover, complete with the tire tracks left behind by the adventuring robot.

In contrast with previous images from the landing site, the panoramic image has been colour-corrected by Chinese researchers to better reflect the colours we would see if we were standing there.