Chinese rover 'Jade Rabbit' drives on far side of the moon

The Yutu 2 rover moving farther across the moon's surface

The far side of the moon is more rugged than the near side, so Chinese officials adjusted the descent trajectory for the Chang'e 4 mission to a more vertical profile from the curved profile used on Chang'e 3, China's previous lunar lander which touched down on the near side in 2013.

While China is the first to land a spacecraft on the far side, there have been plenty of detailed photographs taken by orbiting spacecraft. "This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe".

So scientists call the area where a Chinese spacecraft just landed the far side, not the dark side.

The transfer mechanism unlocked as planned, with one side reaching the Moon's surface, allowing the rover to descend onto the surface from the slope. If the minerals found on the moon's far side are in any way useful here on Earth, you can bet all major nations will be jockeying over them.

On Dec. 8, the spacecraft lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province and entered the moon's orbit four days later, according to Chinese state media.

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One of the challenges of exploring the far side of the moon is communication.

Legend has it that Chang'e, after swallowing a magic pill, took her pet and flew toward the moon where she became a goddess and has lived with the white jade rabbit ever since.

The collection of data from the invisible side of the moon began with the Jadehase 2 robotic vehicle, the vehicle carried by the Chinese satellite Chang'e 4, which for some hours has been laid on the moon side that we cannot see.

The mission highlights China's growing ambitions to rival the US, Russia and Europe in space, and more broadly, to cement its position as a regional and global power.

A Chinese lunar rover has driven on the far side of the moon, the national space agency announced on Friday, hailing the development as a "big step for the Chinese people". The other side, most of which can not be seen from the Earth, is called the far side or dark side because most of it is uncharted. It has a maximum speed of 200 metres per hour and can climb a 20-degree hill or an obstacle up to 20cm tall.

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