China’s Chang’e-4 probe resumes work for 20th lunar day

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Left part of the combo photo shows the lander of the Chang’e-4 probe taken by the rover Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2) on Jan. 11, 2019, and right part shows the rover Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2) taken by the lander of the Chang’e-4 probe on Jan. 11, 2019, after the Chang’e-4 probe realized the first-ever soft-landing on the far side of the moon. (China National Space Administration/hand out via Xinhua)

BEIJING, July 15 (Xinhua) — The lander and rover of the Chang’e-4 probe have resumed work for the 20th lunar day on the far side of the moon.

The lander woke up at 5:48 a.m. Wednesday (Beijing Time), and the rover awoke at 12:53 p.m. Tuesday. Both are in normal working order, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

The Chang’e-4 probe, launched on Dec. 8, 2018, made the first-ever soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan. 3, 2019.

A lunar day is equal to 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length. The Chang’e-4 probe, switching to dormant mode during the lunar night due to the lack of solar power, has survived about 559 Earth days on the moon.

The rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, has worked much longer than its three-month design life, becoming the longest-working lunar rover on the moon.

On the 20th lunar day, the neutron radiation detector and low-frequency radio spectrometer on the lander will be switched on.

The rover, based on the lunar surface image data obtained earlier, will continue to move northwest toward the basalt area or the impact craters with high reflectivity.

The near-infrared spectrometer, panoramic camera, neutral atom detector and lunar radar on the rover will continue to carry out planned scientific exploration.

Through the analysis of the Chang’e-4 radar data, researchers recently found a multi-layer underground structure in the landing area and confirmed that multiple lava-infilling events occurred in the Von Karman Crater.

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