China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft lands on far side of the moon

Yutu 2 leaving track marks as it begins to explore the surface of the far side of the moon

Yutu 2 leaving track marks as it begins to explore the surface of the far side of the moon

A robotic Chinese spacecraft named Chang'e 4 braked out of lunar orbit and slowed to a controlled touchdown on the far side of the moon Thursday, a first in the history of space exploration.

The Yutu-2 rover moves across the far side of the Moon.

The posting says the Jade Rabbit 2 rover had succeeded in establishing a digital transmission link with a relay satellite that sends data back to the Beijing control centre.

After sending the rover off from a ramp, the spacecraft deployed three 5-meter low-frequency radio antennas, the Chinese space agency said.

Spacecraft have taken pictures of the moon's far side before - a Soviet satellite took the first photographs of the far side in 1959, and the Apollo missions circled above it between 1968 and 1972 - but no lander has ever landed there.

Like its predecessor, Yutu-2, capable of enduring vacuum pressure, intense radiation, and extreme temperatures is equipped with four scientific payloads, including a panoramic camera, infrared imaging spectrometer and radar measurement devices, to obtain images of the moon's surface and detect lunar soil and structure.

"It's just the far side, it can be either dark or light", Loeb said, depending on the time of day.

"I think this is very good evidence that we are now able to compete with the Americans", said energy company employee Yao Dajun. Despite the moniker, the dark side of the moon does receive sunlight.

A Chinese space rover explored the lunar terrain on Friday in the world's first mission on the surface of the far side of the moon.

The head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, Thursday congratulated the Chinese colleagues on the successful landing of the Chang'e-4 probe. China has been trying to catch up with the United States and other nations in space exploration.

China's space program lags America's, but has made great strides in the past 15 years, including manned flights and a space laboratory that is seen as a precursor to plans for a space station.

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