China took the lead and became the first nation to successfully land a spacecraft on the far – “dark” side of the moon. This now supersedes NASA’s Ranger 4 as the first human-made object to touch the dark side of the moon; the spacecraft crashed in 1964 due to a computer failure.
Space exploration officially commenced once Chang’e 4 was launched on December 7 last year. Chang’e 4, and its solar-powered rover Yutu-2, are named after the Chinese goddess of the moon and her jade rabbit. According to the announcement on state media on Thursday, the probe touched down with no damage in the South Pole-Aitken Basin at 10:26 a.m. Beijing Time.
“China is anxious to get into the record books with its space achievements,” Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, told CNN. With the thriving successes of Chang’e and the human spaceflight Shenzhou programme, he claims that “odds of the next voice transmission form the moon being in Mandarin are high.”
After having landed, Yutu-2 captured close-up images of the far side of the moon. China is hoping to learn more about its internal structure, temperature as well as its mineral composition.
Check out the images released by China’s National Space Administration below.
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