China has released a detailed panoramic image taken by the first spacecraft to land on half the moon we can not see from Earth.
The mission, called Chang'e 4, took place on the other side of the moon on January 3 ("dark side" is a mistake). The size of a car and a desk-sized rover named Yutu 2 are designed to study the region over the next six months.
Shortly after the Lander and the Rover started their work, they put the China Space Agency on a planned three-day "nap," Space News reported. This helped them to survive the equivalent of a high lunch on the moon when the lunar surface temperature can exceed 240 ° C (240 ° F) and there is a risk of the spacecraft overheating and being damaged.
The nap ended on Thursday, and both starships were "in stable condition on Friday," said the CNSA on its website, which seriously resumed the mission of Chang & # 4.
One of the first Tasks of the lander were photographing the landing site on Friday morning.The CNSA has assembled the images into a 360-degree panorama and published two representations.
The image at the top of this story is called an orthographic projection, expanding some parts of a panorama and shrinking others to create a single image like a fisheye lens.
The horizontal image above is a cylindrical projection, which is essentially a 360-degree image cut and flattened at one point.
The cylindrical projection was the most detailed The first of the pictures published by China shows the topography of the landscape. It is also the clearest picture yet of the desk-top Yutu 2 rover, which extends across the lunar surface at the edge of a small crater.
At the start of his mission, the lander returned the first photos of the surface of the moon, showing Yutu 2 along with the tracks on its six wheels.
Scientists in China hope to gain important clues about the formation of the moon with the mission Chang & # 4; to search for water ice, to search the night sky for radio signals, and even to breed silkworms in a self-contained ecosystem.
The First Landing on the Other Side of the Moon
The mission explores a larger impact site, the so-called Von Kármán Crater, which has a diameter of about 111 miles.
The crater is in a feature called the South Pole Aitken Basin. 3.9 billion years ago, it was thought to have been a catastrophic impact on which deep material spilled and remained on the lunar surface for study.
"It is possible that this basin is so deep that it contains material from the inner mantle of the Moon," tweeted Tamela Maciel, astrophysicist and communication manager of the National Space Center in Leicester, after the mission had started December 7 . "When we land on the other side for the first time, the Chang'e-4 Lander and Rover will help us understand so much more about the origins and history of the Moon."
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The mission will have to take another nap on January 21 when it will be a full moon and a lunar eclipse (colorful as "Super Blood Wolf Moon ") on the near side to the earth. This means that the far side is completely dark and temperatures can drop to -290 degrees Fahrenheit, which is another threat to the survival of the spacecraft.
The mission was named after Chang & # 39; e, a mythical moon goddess, while 4 indicates that this is the fourth robot mission in China's space exploration program decadelong.
No country or space agency, including Russia and NASA, landed smoothly on the other side of the moon until January 3.