Far side of the moon, in pictures

This composite image made available by NASA in 2011 shows the far side of Earth’s moon.
NASA  Goddard  Arizona State University via AP  
AP

A rover dubbed Yutu-2 - or Jade Rabbit, the name of the moon goddess's pet - successfully separated from the lander and drove onto the moon's surface about eight hours after landing. The machines took each other's portraits.

But the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) said that as of the morning of 11 January, the Yutu 2 rover, its lander and the relay satellite were all in a "stable condition".

Because the far side faces away from Earth, it is also shielded from radio transmissions - making it the flawless place from where to study the universe. The rover is powered by solar panels.

Expected on Friday are the release of images from one or both of the lander's Terrain Camera (TCAM) and the rover's Panoramic Camera (PCAM). The rover is visible with its tracks leading away towards the bottom.

The 360-degree photo shows the grey moonscape, the lander and the rover.

Panorama shot taken by China's Moon lander with a picture of its detached rover scooting off in the distance. "For the first time in human history, the spacecraft made a soft landing and patrol survey on the back of the moon, and for the first time, realized the relay communication with the Earth on the back of the moon, and with many countries".

CLEP, which released the images, said in a statement: "Researchers completed the preliminary analysis of the lunar surface topography around the landing site based on the image taken by the landing camera".

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"The scientific instruments aboard the probe worked well, and the images taken by the probe and the detection data have been sent back to ground control".

China uses a special satellite, called Queqiao, as the link between Chang'e 4 and Beijing.

"From the panorama, we can see the probe is surrounded by lots of small craters, which was really thrilling", Li was quoted as saying.

He said the Chang'e-4 landed at an altitude of almost minus 6,000 metres.

Wu also revealed that China has plans to build a research station at the South Polar region of the moon.

"The information from the depths of the Moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration", Li said.

"Chang E-4" landed in the farthest part of the Moon on January 3 and became the world's first spacecraft to reach the never-seen part of the natural satellite.

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