CHINA’S historic Change’-4 mission has successfully deployed a small rover onto the mysterious dark side of the moon. Jade Rabbit 2, a six-wheeled robot armed with a panoramic camera, is now exploring the icy lunar surface around its stationary mothership. As well as taking some of humanity’s first close-up pictures of the moon’s dark side, the rover’s task is to analyse the chemical make-up of lunar rock. It marks the first step in China’s Chang’e-4 lunar mission, which touched down on Thursday morning. Jade Rabbit 2, Yutu 2, left the spacecraft via a ramp at 2.26am on Friday, leaving small tracks in the moon’s dusty surface. Lunar project chief designer Wu Weiren called the rover’s deployment “a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation.” Spacecraft have taken pictures of the moon’s far side before, but no probe has ever landed there. While stationed on the moon, Chang’e-4’s pair of robots – Jade Rabbit 2 and a larger, stationary lander – will explore a crater within the South-Pole Aitken basin, the largest and oldest impact crater on the moon. They will track radiation levels and gather soil samples ahead of plans for a lunar base, which China hopes to assemble… Read full this story
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