After a successful soft landing on the far side of the moon, China has deployed the Chang’e 4 rover to the lunar surface.
The 1.5-meter-long Yutu 2 rover rolled onto the surface of the moon at 14:22 UTC yesterday, around 12 hours after the Change-4 lander touched down. The rover will now be put to work conducting low-frequency radio astronomical observations of the lunar surface.
In addition to a panoramic camera (PCAM) and imaging spectroscopy (VNIS), the Yutu 2 is equipped with ground penetrating radar (LPR), and an energetic neutral atom analyzer (ASAN) supplied by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics. In combination, the instruments aboard the rover will collect valuable data of an area of the moon unchartered by human beings.
“The probe will detect various physical phenomena dating back to the formation of the universe,” said Ye Peijian, an academic from China’s Academy of Sciences. “The far side of the moon has a clean environment with low noise, which is very helpful for our research. It is of great scientific significance to reach the far side in terms of a deeper understanding of the moon.”
The Yutu 2 design is based on the Yutu rover launched aboard the Chang’e 3 mission in 2014. The Yutu was deployed to the lunar surface on January 11, 2014. Like the Yutu 2, it was expected to remain operational for three months. However, on January 11, 2014, the country’s state media reported that the rover had suffered a “mechanical control abnormality” that stifled its mobility. Despite this, the rover continued to transmit data for over a year finally going dark in March 2015.