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China's lunar rover expected to work beyond design life

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-03-14 10:12

This handout image taken on Jan 3, 2019 shows China's lunar rover, Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, leaving the first ever "footprint" after rolling down a track extending from China's robotic lunar probe Chang'e-4 lander on the far side of the moon. [Photo/IC]

BEIJING - China's lunar rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, has driven 163 meters on the far side of the moon and is expected to work longer than its three-month design life.

Both the rover and the lander of the Chang'e-4 lunar probe switched to a dormant mode on Wednesday as the extremely cold lunar night fell, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

The Chang'e-4 probe landed on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan 3.

The rover has scientifically examined some stones on the far side of the moon, which might help scientists find out whether they are from outer space or native to the moon.

As a result of the tidal locking effect, the moon's revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, and it always faces the earth with the same side.

The far side of the moon was regarded as a virgin territory with unique features, and scientists expect important discoveries.

The 135-kg lunar rover Jade Rabbit-2 is the first ever rover to drive on the moon's far side, as well as the lightest rover ever sent to the moon.

Scientists hope Jade Rabbit-2 will travel farther to send more images of the unknown terrain, "listen" to the stories recorded in the ancient lunar rocks and find more traces of the early history of the moon and the solar system.

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