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Craters surrounding Chang'e-4 pose challenge to lunar rover

12 January 2019

Pictures transmitted back show a rocky surface with the jagged edge of craters in the background, posing a challenge for controllers in plotting the rover's future travels, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The lunar rover, which is named after the pet rabbit of Chinese moon goddess Chang'e, began exploring its new landscape some 13 hours after its lander touched down on the lunar surface on January 3.

The pictures were transmitted by a relay satellite to a control centre in Beijing, although it wasn't immediately clear when they were taken.

Information can not be sent directly from the lunar far side to Earth - the moon's bulk gets in the way.

Chinese astronomers have made a preliminary analysis of the terrain and landform surrounding the location of the probe and its Yutu rover, now near the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin.

The stunning 360-degree panoramic photos, taken by a camera mounted on the top of the lunar lander, were relayed to the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Thursday.

The rover for China's Chang'e-4 mission has restarted activities following a period on standby as a precaution against high temperatures as the sun rose to its highest point over the landing site on the far side of the Moon.

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

China announced on Friday that the Chang'e-4 mission, was a "complete success".

"The information from the depths of the moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration", he said.

The CNSA also released a video of the landing process of the Chang'e-4, which was produced by processing more than 4,700 pictures taken by a camera on the probe. The Chang'e 4 is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid craters and uneven surfaces before it lands.

China's national space agency has released the first panoramic images of the far side of the Moon since the historic landing earlier this month.

It is the first time a soft landing has been performed on the Moon's far side - also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown - due to challenges relaying signals.

Craters surrounding Chang'e-4 pose challenge to lunar rover