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China’s Yutu 2 rover still rolling after nearly 4 years on moon’s far side

China's Yutu-2 rover landed on the far side of the moon in January 2019, as part of the Chang'e 4 mission.

China’s Yutu-2 rover landed on the other side of the moon in January 2019, within the Chang’e 4 mission.(Image credit: CLEP/CNSA)

The initial robots ever to land safely on the other side of the moon are quietly continuing their work, in accordance with a rare update on the mission.

China’s Chang’e 4 lander and Yutu 2 rover set down in Von Krmn Crater back January 2019 and also have been undertaking science and exploration objectives since.

There have been too little reports on the progress of the pair lately, but a mission update coinciding with the Chinese calendar’s Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, reveals that is well with the solar-powered craft.

Related: The most recent news about China’s space program

The six-wheeled, roughly 309-pound (140 kilograms) Yutu 2 has accumulated nearly 4,265 feet (1,300 meters) of driving in its roughly 3.5 years on the other side of the moon, based on the update from CCTV (opens in new tab). Its journey in addition has been spotted from orbit by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The rover posesses panoramic camera, with which it infamously spotted that which was initially referred to as a “mystery hut” but ended up being a rabbit-shaped rock. Yutu 2 can be built with a lunar penetrating radar, an infrared imaging spectrometer and a neutral atom detector co-developed with Sweden, and contains made numerous interesting findings on the other side of the moon.

The lander also carries science instruments and contains contributed to your knowledge of the far side of the moon.

As the lunar far side never faces Earth, China sent a relay satellite, named Queqiao, out right into a special orbit beyond the moon, and can bounce signals between your Chang’e 4 spacecraft and the planet earth.

China’s next lunar mission is likely to be Chang’e 6. The spacecraft will try to collect samples from the far side of the moon and can also need Queqiao or another satellite to talk to Earth.

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Andrewis a freelance space journalist with a concentrate on reporting on China’s rapidly growing space sector. He began writingfor Space.com in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist among others.Andrewfirst caught the area bug when, as a young child,hesaw Voyager images of other worlds inside our solar system for the firsttime.From space,Andrewenjoys trail running in the forests of Finland.It is possible to follow him on Twitter@AJ_FI (opens in new tab).

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