Chinese rover finds lunar nights 'colder than expected'

Chinese rover finds lunar nights 'colder than expected'

"According to the measurements of Chang'e-4, the temperature of the shallow layer of the lunar soil on the far side of the moon is lower than the data obtained by the U.S. Apollo mission on the near side of the moon", said Zhang He, the Chang'e-4 probe project executive director.

Chang'e 4 lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the province of Sichuan on December 7, 2018 (EST) and reached lunar orbit on Dec 12, 2018.

The way in which Chang'e landed on the surface of the moon is termed a "soft landing".

New observations from the Chang'e-4, the Chinese lunar lander which successfully landed on the far side of the moon last month, show that nighttime temperatures on the far side are much colder than originally thought. If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration. The far side of the Moon - that is, the side that we never see here on Earth when we gaze skyward - hasn't been studied in as great of detail as its near side.

The far side of the moon is completely cut off from radio communication from the Earth since it has the entire moon between it and Earth-based transmitters, and it always will. This phenomenon is termed "tidal locking".

The two devices had successfully completed their mission during the first lunar day (approximately 28 earth days), including sending the first photo of the moon's far side. The challenge to find pieces of earth on the moon was taken up by research scientists Jeremy Bellucci and Alexander Nemchin of Swedish Museum of Natural History and they were joined in by Australia's Curtin University. The lander can regulate itself, but the Yutu-2 rover will go back to sleep on February 3 to avoid overheating when the sunlight is most direct.

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Chang'e 4 and Yutu 2 are the first probes to explore the far side of our nearest neighbor, so the data they return will be one of a kind.

With help from the Queqiao relay satellite, now the two devices are in stable operation and continue to transfer data to earth.

China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, making it only the third country after Russian Federation and the United States to do so.

A number of experiments are planned for the spacecraft to conduct.

China has launched a ground-breaking mission to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russian Federation, the European Union and the US.

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