Jason DavisJan 03, 2019

Chang'e-4 deploys rover on far side of the Moon

News brief

Following an historic first landing on the far side of the Moon earlier today, China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft is already hard at work. The lander's first order of business was deploying its rover, which is named Yutu-2, China's space agency announced. The rover rolled down its ramp at 14:22 UTC to begin exploring Von Kármán crater.

Yutu-2 with six wheels on the Moon!
Yutu-2 with six wheels on the Moon! The rover rolled onto the surface at 14:22 on 3 January 2019. CNSA / CLEP

Here's one of Yutu-2's six wheels on the Chang'e-4 lander prior to deployment:

Yutu-2’s wheels, pre-deployment
Yutu-2’s wheels, pre-deployment The wheels of Yutu-2 are ready to roll onto the deployment ramp and onto the lunar surface. The rover rolled onto the surface at 14:22 on 3 January 2019. CNSA / CLEP

And an image of the landing site:

Chang’e-4's first image of the landing site
Chang’e-4's first image of the landing site A small color camera intended to monitor rover deployment returned the first photo of Chang'e-4's landing site. At the top of the image are the rover deploy ramps. CNSA / CLEP

A close-up from the descent camera:

Chang’e-4 descent camera image: touchdown!
Chang’e-4 descent camera image: touchdown! This photo was taken upon touchdown of Chang'e-4 on the far side of the Moon on 3 January 2019 at 02:26 UTC. One footpad has sunk slightly into the dusty regolith at right. CNSA / CLEP

And some very happy technicians:

Celebrating Chang’e-4’s landing
Celebrating Chang’e-4’s landing Technicians celebrate after the landing of Chang'e-4 lunar probe at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) in Beijing, capital of China, 3 January 2019. Xinhua

We're also tracking updates on the landing location. Here's a thread at nasaspaceflight.com, and an update from an LRO scientist:

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