Chang'e-4 Shows Moon's Far Side Colder than Expected During Night

Chang'e-4 Shows Moon's Far Side Colder than Expected During Night

Chang'e-4 Shows Moon's Far Side Colder than Expected During Night

Earth's moon is tidally locked to the planet, meaning that the same side of the moon faces us at all times.

Chang'e 4 and Yutu 2 are the first probes to explore the far side of our nearest neighbor, so the data they return will be one of a kind.

Temperatures on the dark side of the moon, at night, turned out to be colder than expected, the Chinese National Space Agency reported.

Having successfully landed on the far side of the moon earlier this month, the Chang'e-4 lunar lander-named after a Chinese moon goddess-woke from a two week long period of hibernation and discovered nighttime temperatures on the far side of the moon are much colder than scientists were originally anticipating.

China's lunar rover "Yutu-2", or Jade Rabbit 2 rolling onto the far side of the moon taken by the "Chang'e-4" lunar probe.

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The two devices were put to sleep two weeks ago due to the extremely low temperature on the far side of the lunar surface, which can reach a minimum of -190 degrees Celsius (-310 degrees Fahrenheit) at night.

The static lander, which launched on 7 December, touched down at 10:26 am Beijing time on 3 January in the South Pole-Aitken basin. Previously, the Chinese scientists had no data on exactly how cold it could be.

The moon is tidally locked in its orbit around the Earth, meaning that it does not spin on its axis the way the Earth does, creating typical day-night cycles.

But day also carries the risk of correspondingly high temperatures.

They were lower than those recorded by previous USA missions to the near side of the moon, Zhang He, executive director of the Chang´e-4 mission, told Xinhua news agency.

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

Both rover and lander carry radioisotope heat sources to prevent them from freezing entirely during the long lunar nights.

The lander was also equipped with an isotope thermoelectric cell and dozens of temperature data collectors to measure the temperatures on the surface of the moon during the lunar night.

"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.

The mission of China's lunar lander is to study the cosmic radiation, the moon's environment, and the interaction between the moon's surface and the solar wind, the charged particles blown out into space by the Sun.

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