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'Total success': China broadcasts images from far side of moon

'Total success': China broadcasts images from far side of moon

This handout picture taken by the Chang'e-4 probe and released to AFP by China National Space Administration on January 3, 2019 shows an image of the "dark side" of the moon.

Temperatures were expected to reach up to 200 degrees Celsius, but authorities from the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) said that the Yutu 2 rover, the lander and its relay satellite all survived the heat blast safely. The photos reveal a seemingly endless horizon of grey, rocky terrain.

Images of the moon's far side sent back by the Chang'e-4 probe.

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It is the first time a soft landing has been performed on the Moon's far side - also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown - due to challenges relaying signals.

This is the second Chinese probe to land on the moon, following the first Yutu rover mission on its Earth-facing side in 2013.

Chang'e-4, the Yutu-2 and the Queqiao relay satellite that beams data back to Earth are "in a stable condition, and all work was carried out as planned", the statement said.

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As a result of the tidal locking effect, the moon's revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle.

Chang'e-4 landed at 177.6 degrees east longitude and 45.5 degrees south following a 12-minute powered descent.

"The information from the depths of the moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration", he said.

China's National Space Administration (CNSA) has made public a batch of selected photos, inducing a 360-degree panorama taken by a camera installed atop the lander. The probe is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid obstacles on the ground.

"From the video, we can see more dust was thrown up when the Chang'e-4 touched down on the far side of the Moon compared with the landing of Chang'e-3, which indicates that the lunar dust at the landing area of Chang'e-4 is thicker than the region where Chang'e-3 landed", Zhang Hongbo, chief designer of the ground application system of Chang'e-4, said.

While China certainly has reason to celebrate the accomplishments thus far with the Chang'e 4 mission, the country still has months of scientific observation and study ahead of it before it can declare all of its objectives complete.

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