First image of Chinese probe landing on the dark side of the moon

NASA released a photo of the Chinese landing site and the lander on the ‘dark side’ of the moon. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter approached the crater on January 30, from the east, and clicked the picture.

The dark side is the part of the moon that is eternally out of view from Earth.


ALSO READ: China launches the first-ever probe to explore the dark side of Moon

China’s Chang’e-4 mission, named after a lunar goddess, the first ever to reach the far side of the Moon, successfully landed on the lunar surface on 3 January.


”On Jan. 3, 2019, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 4 safely landed on the floor of the Moon’s Von Kármán crater (186 kilometer diameter, 116 miles). Four weeks later (Jan. 30, 2019), as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter approached the crater from the east, it rolled 70 degrees to the west to snap this spectacular view looking across the floor toward the west wall. Because LRO was 330 kilometers (205 miles) to the east of the landing site, the Chang’e 4 lander is only about two pixels across (bright spot between the two arrows), and the small rover is not detectable. The massive mountain range in the background is the west wall of Von Kármán crater, rising more than 3,000 meters (9,850 feet) above the floor,” said NASA in a statement.

The Chang’s-4 lunar probe took off on the early morning hours of December 8 last year to explore the far side of the moon from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southern China.

The instruments on the rover and lander consist of special cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers to help ascertain the composition of rocks and dirt on the back side of the moon.

The moon rover will also be conducting a fascinating biology experiment to check whether plant seeds will develop and silkworm eggs will hatch on the low gravity environment of the moon, according to Xinhua.

Light and radio transmissions from Earth to the moon’s far side are blocked. When Apollo astronauts orbited the moon, they temporarily (and expectedly) lost contact with mission control in Houston each time they passed behind the 2,159-mile-wide ball of rock.

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