China successfully landed Chang’e-4 spacecraft on the far side of the Moon on January 3, 2019. According to the Xinhua News Agency, Chang’e-4 unmanned spacecraft became the first to ever land on the far side of the Moon.
The Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu 2 tracking were launched to the Moon on 8 December 2018 and made the first landing on the far side of the Moon in early January 2019. The spacecraft landed inside the Von Kármán crater, in the Aitken basin area.
It has been a year since its landing, China released a large amount of data that included high-resolution photos taken from the far side of the Moon on January 20.
Reporting from Space.com, the photos show views of the Von Kármán crater imaged by the Yutu explorer 2. This photo was processed by Doug Ellison using images from the Chang’e-4 National Space Administration’s Chinese image archive.
Doug Ellison who is the head of the camera engineering team for Curiosity Mars Rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory downloads various data and unifies the photos to produce a bigger picture.
China Shares Beautiful Photos from the Moon Away Side Mission. (Technic Spatiales)
China Shares Beautiful Photos from the Moon’s Far Side Mission. (Technic Spatiales)
Photos released also include close-up views of the crater and regolith (land of the Moon) in the Von Kármán Crater and various shots of landers and explorers.
Because the far side of the Moon never faces the Earth, data from the spacecraft is relayed via the Queqiao communication satellite that hovers around the Moon.
A cartographer at the Center for Planetary Science and Exploration at Western University, Ontario, named Philip Stooke has also used the latest photo data released by China to improve maps that map the route around Yutu 2. The
photos are also made publicly available via the Google Drive link has been converted by Technic Spatiales, a French space Twitter account.
The Chang’e-4 mission will continue while China is developing a mission the following month by launching Chang’e-5. The new mission is expected to be launched around the end of 2020 by sending landers and explorers to the Moon on a mission to return Moon samples to Earth.