China's Chang'e-4 sends more pictures of moon's dark side

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After making a soft landing on January 3 at 10:26 am, Chang'e 4 released a lunar rover to roam and survey its surroundings in the Von Karman crater, the moon's largest, oldest and deepest one, located in the South Pole-Aitken basin.

Instead, signals are sent from the lunar surface up to a relay satellite called Queqiao, which launched in May 2018 and is hovering in an orbital "parking spot" from which it can communicate with Earth.

China's space agency has released panoramic photographs taken on the lunar surface by the country's Chang'e 4 probe - the first manmade craft to land on the mysterious far side of the Moon.

Images transmitted from China's Chang'e 4 Yuta rover shows the craggy and complex terrain of the lunar south pole region, posing a serious challenge for controllers in plotting the rover's future explorations, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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

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

Many lunar orbiters had shown the moon's two sides were very different: the near side is relatively flat, while the far side is thickly dotted with impact craters.

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The craters close to the rover - including one that was 20 meters wide (65 feet) with a depth of about four meters (13 feet) - will pose great challenges when planning its route, Li said.

"Now I declare that the Chang'e 4 mission, as a part of the Chang'e Lunar Exploration Program, has been a success", Zhang said.

CNSA also published some new panorama and 360-degree images taken by the lander.

The video, lasting about 12 minutes, shows the probe adjusted its altitude, hovered and avoided obstacles during the descent process.

The SPA Basin, where the Chang'e-4 probe landed, is the largest and deepest basin in the solar system, with a diameter of 2,500 km and a depth of more than 10 km.

Scientists have said the far side is a key area for solving several unknowns about the moon, including its internal structure and thermal evolution.

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