China names new moon rover "Yutu-2"

China names new moon rover

Launched on Dec 8, 2018, China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe, comprising a lander and a rover, landed on the far side of the moon Thursday morning.

The CNSA said that Yutu is a symbol of kindness, purity, and agility, and is identical to the moon rover in both outlook and connotation.

On Wednesday night (Jan. 2), the Chang'e 4 rover and its stationary-lander companion pulled off the first-ever soft touchdown on the lunar far side, coming to a rest inside the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater.

According to the CNSA, in the following days, Yutu-2 and the lander will face the challenge of extremely high temperatures in the lunar day.

"Congratulations to China's Chang'e-4 team for what appears to be a successful landing on the far side of the Moon", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote on Twitter.

It is the second Chinese spacecraft to land on the only natural satellite of our planet, following the Yutu rover mission in 2013.

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Nevertheless, this is a significant step in China's bid to become a leading power in space exploration, alongside the United States and Russian Federation.

The rover's radar and panoramic camera have also been activated and are working normally.

Photos of the rover leaving "humankind's first tracks" were sent back to Earth by the lander after the rover separated from it. Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar mission for the China National Space Administration, called the separation "a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation". It has a maximum speed of 0.1 miles per hour and can climb a 20-degree hill or mount an obstacle up to 8 inches tall, the report said.

"The landing on the far side shows China's technology is powerful", said He Qisong, a space expert at the East China University of Science and Law in Shanghai.

China's Chang'e 4 craft captured a close-up photo of the far side of the moon. "This is a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment!"

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