New photos from China's lunar rover released with New Year blessings

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-01-22 15:43
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A panoramic picture of the wheel track left by Yutu 2 when it traveled to the LE05103 point on moon surface on Jan 18, 2023. [Photo/CNSA]

BEIJING -- The China National Space Administration on Saturday released a group of new photos from the country's lunar rover Yutu 2, together with its good wishes for all Chinese people, ahead of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rabbit.

The photos showed the wheel track left by the rover, some rocks and a small impact crater on the lunar surface.

Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, is known as the pet of Lunar Goddess Chang'e in the Chinese mythology. The rabbit's common association with Earth's only natural satellite led China to name its first moon rover "Yutu."

In 2019, China sent another rabbit visitor to the moon. The Yutu 2 rover and Chang'e 4 lander, both part of the Chang'e-4 probe, soft-landed on the dark side of the moon -- a first for humanity.

The panoramic camera installed aboard the rover took photos of the moon surface which show the wheel track left by the rover (L), a rock four meters away from the rover and an impact crater about five meters in diameter (R), Jan 18, 2023. [Photo/CNSA]

The Yutu 2 rover and Chang'e 4 lander woke up from their dormant mode on Jan 15 and Jan 16, respectively, ushering in their 51st lunar day of work.

A lunar day is equal to 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length. The lunar probe switches to the dormant mode during the lunar night due to the lack of solar power.

So far, Yutu 2 has worked for more than four years, traveled nearly 1,500 meters in total, and released more than 940.1 gigabytes (GB) of scientific data.

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