Far side of the moon, in pictures


China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe has sent ultra-high definition and panoramic photos of the moon's dark side, after its historic January 3 soft-landing on the side that is always oriented away from Earth.

"Researchers completed the preliminary analysis of the lunar surface topography around the landing site based on the image taken by the landing camera", CLEP said in a statement accompanying the release of the images.

The panorama taken from the Chang'e 4 lander at its perch in Von Karman Crater and stitched together as a full-circle view. Now, on Friday, January 11, the team behind Chang'e 4 mission has shared images back to earth through a special relay satellite.

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Images of the moon's far side sent back by the Chang'e-4 probe.

Temperatures were expected to reach up to 200 degrees Celsius, but authorities from the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) said that the Yutu 2 rover, the lander and its relay satellite all survived the heat blast safely.

China's Chang'e 4 lunar probe has captured a stunning panoramic picture of the far side of the Moon.

The 360-degree photo shows the grey moonscape, the lander and the rover.

Unlike the near side of the moon that offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged.

"From the panorama, we can see the probe is surrounded by lots of small craters, which was really thrilling", Li was quoted as saying.

"The Chang'e-4 landed at an altitude of almost minus 6,000 meters".

The deepest region on the moon, with a depth of 9,100 meters (5.7 miles), is about 700 kilometers (435 miles) to the south of the probe, Li said.

"The information from the depths of the moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration".

The Chinese space administration also released a 12-minute video of the spacecraft's landing, which can be seen below. The probe is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid obstacles on the ground.

Now that Chang'e 4 snapped some footage, CNSA aims to conduct low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveys of moon landforms, measure neutron radiation, and detect mineral composition.