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You have heard Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, now see it – India Today

You have heard Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, now see it – India Today

A Chinese lunar probe, which landed on the far side of the Moon earlier in January this year, has sent first panoramic image of the Moon’s dark side. Remember Pink Floyd’s 1973 The Dark Side of the Moon album? Well, the photo might make you imagine the album in novel ways now.

China on Friday (January 11) announced that the Chang’e-4 mission, the first-ever probe to land on the Moon’s dark side, was a “complete success” as it transmitted images back to earth through a special relay satellite, according to a PTI report.

With the assistance of the relay satellite Queqiao (Magpie Bridge), the rover Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2), the lander of the Chang’e-4 probe took photos, China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

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LaunchStuff (@LaunchStuff) January 4, 2019

The scientific instruments aboard the probe worked well, and the images taken by the probe and the detection data have been sent back to ground control, it said.

WHY WE CALL THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON DARK SIDE

This is the first time an attempt was made to explore the far side of the Moon. Since the Moon’s revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, the same side always faces Earth. The other face, most of which cannot be seen from Earth, is called the far side or dark side of the Moon, not because it is dark, but because most of it is uncharted.

THE IMAGES OF DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

IANS reported that images sent back from first-ever probe to soft-land on Moon’s far side show it surrounded by lots of craters of different sizes, which posed a great challenge for future exploration of the lunar rover Yutu-2.

The probe, comprised of a lander and a rover, touched down at the preselected landing area at 177.6 degrees east longitude and 45.5 degrees south latitude in the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin on the far side of the Moon on January 3.

First image from Chang’e 4!!!

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LaunchStuff (@LaunchStuff) January 3, 2019

China announced on Friday that the Chang’e-4 mission, was a “complete success”.

The CNSA on Friday released several images taken by the Chang’e-4 probe transmitted back via the relay satellite Queqiao.

One of the published images is a 360-degree panorama which was pieced together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after the rover drove onto the lunar surface, according to Li Chunlai, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and commander-in-chief of the ground application system of Chang’e-4.

“From the panorama, we can see the probe is surrounded by lots of small craters, which was really thrilling,” Li said.

First 360 panoramic images from Chang’e 4!

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LaunchStuff (@LaunchStuff) January 11, 2019

Dark side of the Moon in motion.

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LaunchStuff (@LaunchStuff) January 11, 2019

Li said that one of the craters close to the rover Yutu-2 has a diameter of about 20 meters and a depth of about 4 meters. The rugged terrain will pose great challenges for planning the route of the rover.

Compared with the landing site of the Chang’e-3, which was sent to the Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on the Moon’s near side, fewer rocks can be found in the area surrounding Chang’e-4, indicating the landing area of Chang’e-4 might be older, China’s Xinhua news agency quoted Li as saying.

He said the Chang’e-4 landed at an altitude of nearly minus 6,000 metres. The deepest region on the Moon, where there is an altitude of minus 9,100 meters, is about 700 kilometers to the south of the probe.

“The information from the depths of the Moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration,” Li said.

LANDING VIDEO

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 video, lasting about 12 minutes, shows the probe adjusted its altitude, hovered and avoided obstacles during the descent process.

“From the video, we can see more dust was thrown up when the Chang’e-4 touched down on the far side of the Moon compared with the landing of Chang’e-3, which indicates that the lunar dust at the landing area of Chang’e-4 is thicker than the region where Chang’e-3 landed,” Zhang Hongbo, chief designer of the ground application system of Chang’e-4, said.

“The thicker dust shows that the lunar regolith in the region has undergone longer space weathering, which also gives strong evidence of the region being older. We will conduct comparative research between the landing areas of Chang’e-3 and Chang’e-4,” Li said.

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