Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Chang'e-4 finds moon's far side colder than expected during night

China's lunar lander and rover 'wake up' after two-week nap Chang'e-4 finds moon's far side colder than expected during night - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Sandy Nunez | 02 February, 2019, 14:13

The Chinese scientists indicated that the synchronization of the Moon's rotation with its translation movement, as the natural satellite orbits around our planet, is what causes the Moon always to show the same side towards the Earth.

We have since taken pictures of the far side with the lunar orbiter, giving humans the first clear look at it in its entirety, but China's Chang'e-4 lander isn't there for sightseeing. The soil is also much colder than that on the near side of the Moon.

The Polar Vortex is nothing compared to the cold temperatures on the Moon, according to data from a Chinese probe. The Chang'e-4 probe switched to dormant mode during the lunar night due to lack of solar power.

Temperatures on the moon´s surface plummeted to minus 190 degrees celsius (-310 degrees Fahrenheit) during the probe´s first lunar night, which "was colder than scientists expected", the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

They were lower than those recorded by previous United States missions to the near side of the moon, Zhang He, executive director of the Chang´e-4 mission, told Xinhua news agency. "We still need more careful analysis", Zhang said.

A day and night on the Moon is equivalent to about 28 days on the Earth.

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At the end of 2013, China launched Chang'e-3, the country's first spacecraft to soft-land on the moon.

"It was a success, but Chang'e-3 was designed according to foreign temperature data", said Zhang.

Chang'e 4's landing is but one step on the path of China's ultimate goal to send astronauts to the moon's surface and build its own space station. They were put to sleep as night fell roughly two weeks ago at the mission's Von Kármán Crater landing site.

Yutu-2 will continue to rove and explore, analysing the variations of composition of the lunar surface and SPA melt sheet with the Visible and Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS), examine the subsurface with the Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR), and provide insight into the space environment and interactions with the surface with the Advanced Small Analyser for Neutrals (ASAN) developed in Sweden. "And potato could become a major source of food for future space travellers", said Professor Liu Hanlong, chief director of the seed experiment and Vice President of Chongqing University.

"It is a technology that we must master if we want to go to the moon's polar regions or farther than Jupiter into deep space, where solar power can not be used as the primary power source", he said.