China’s far-side moon rover is already busy exploring its exotic new home. On Jan. 2 the Chang’e 4 rover and its stationary-lander companion pulled off the first-ever soft touchdown on the lunar far side, coming to a rest inside the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater.
The six-wheeled rover, known as Yutu 2, isn’t pausing to catch its breath, as a newly released photo shows. Yutu 2 has already put a fair bit of space between itself and the lander, trundling over near the rim of a small crater on the floor of Von Kármán, which itself lies within an even larger impact feature — the 1,550-mile-wide (2,500 km) South Pole-Aitken Basin.
Both Yutu 2 and the lander sport four science instruments, which they’ll use to study the surrounding dirt and rocks and probe the far side’s subsurface. Such observations could help scientists better understand the moon’s composition, structure and evolution, Chinese space officials have said.
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