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China moon machines snap striking pictures of each other

14 January 2019
China moon machines snap striking pictures of each other

The Chang'e-4 mission - named after a moon goddess - made the world's first soft landing on the moon's far side on January 3, a major step in China's ambitions to become a space superpower.

It is worth mentioning that both Chang E-4 and Chandrayaan-2 wanted to "first of all" land on the Moon. The machines took each other's portraits.

The lunar probe last week transmitted early images of its exploration on the far side, and the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) has now released the first panoramic shot of its landing site.

Information can not be sent directly from the lunar far side to Earth - the moon's bulk gets in the way. The rover is powered by solar panels.

In the meantime, a section of conspiracy theorists believes that the Chinese Chang'e-4 probe will encounter aliens in the dark side of the moon, which will finally result in the extraterrestrial disclosure. The rover is visible with its tracks leading away towards the bottom.

The image shows parts of the lander and its robotic rover as well as the pitted surface of the Von Kármán crater where it landed.

According to the news of the official news agency Xinhua, the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) released photos showing a huge 360-degree view taken from the camera on the top of the lender.

Because there's no way to establish a direct radio link to Earth from the far side, the spacecraft must bounce data off a relay satellite, called Queqiao (or magpie bridge), which orbits 65,000km beyond the Moon, around a so-called Lagrange point.

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

However, until now, no signs of extraterrestrial activity was spotted by the Chang'e-4.

The Chang'e-4 landed on January 3rd in the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest, oldest, and deepest basin on the moon's surface.

"The information from the depths of the moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration". The probe is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid obstacles on the ground.

In contrast with previous images from the landing site, the panoramic image has been colour-corrected by Chinese researchers to better reflect the colours we would see if we were standing there.