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China's lunar rover discovers mysterious substance on moon's far side

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-09-24 13:24
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, discovered an unidentified substance in an impact crater on the far side of the moon.

The discovery was made during Yutu-2's ninth lunar day of exploration on the moon, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

The ground controllers designed a driving route for the rover to allow it to conduct scientific detection to the depth of the impact crater and the distribution of the ejecta, said the center.

"The Yutu-2 rover is expected to bring us more surprises and scientific discoveries," said the center.

The lander of the Chang'e-4 probe and the Yutu-2 rover have resumed work for the 10th lunar day on the far side of the moon after "sleeping" during the extremely cold lunar night.

The lander woke up at 8:26 pm Monday, and the rover awoke at 8:30 pm Sunday (Beijing Time). Both are in normal working condition, according to the center.

The rover has traveled about 285 meters on the moon to conduct scientific exploration on the virgin territory.

China's Chang'e-4 probe, launched on Dec 8, 2018, made the first-ever soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan 3.

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length. The Chang'e-4 probe switched to a dormant mode during the lunar night due to the lack of solar power.

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

The scientific tasks of the Chang'e-4 mission include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure and measuring neutron radiation and neutral atoms.

The Chang'e-4 mission embodies China's hope to combine human wisdom in space exploration with four payloads developed by the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

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