China's Chang'e-4 probe survives 500 Earth days on Moon's far side

2020-05-18 03:10:26 GMT2020-05-18 11:10:26(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

China’s Chang’e-4 probe has survived 500 Earth days on the far side of the moon while conducting a scientific exploration of the virgin territory.

The lander and rover of the Chang’e-4 probe have resumed work for the 18th lunar day on the far side of the moon after “sleeping” during the extremely cold night.

The lander woke up at 3:25am yesterday (Beijing time), and the rover awoke at 11:53am on Saturday. Both are in normal working order, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

The Chang’e-4 probe, launched on December 8, 2018, made the first-ever soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on January 3, 2019.

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length. The Chang’e-4 probe switches to dormant mode during the lunar night due to the lack of solar power.

The rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, has driven 447.68 meters, and is now 292 meters from the lander. It has conducted scientific detection on lunar rocks, the lunar soil on its track and some impact craters.

Scientists used the Lunar Penetrating Radar on Yutu-2 to study the geological structure with a depth of 40 meters, unveiling the secrets buried under the surface of the far side of the moon, enriching our understanding about the history of celestial collisions and volcanic activities and shedding new light on the geological evolution on the moon.

China plans to launch its first Mars exploration mission Tianwen-1 in July. Due to the modification of the ground communication facilities, the rover and the lander will conduct in-situ detection during the 18th lunar day, said the CNSA.

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