China release eerie moon pics

 

CHINA has released a massive collection of new images from the dark side of the moon, as its latest lunar mission enters its second year.

The Chang'e-4 mission (named after the Chinese Moon goddess) landed in the Von Kármán crater in January last year, the first successful expedition to the Moon's far side.

The Chang'e-4 lander and Yutu-2 rover are studying the surface of the Moon to learn more about the formation of the solar system and the Earth.

The vast, empty terrain of the moon meets the abyss of space. Picture: CLEP/CNSA
The vast, empty terrain of the moon meets the abyss of space. Picture: CLEP/CNSA

On Monday, China's Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) and China National Space Administration (CNSA) released more than 20 gigabytes of images and data collected over the program's first year on the Moon.

The collection contains images of the lander itself as well as pictures from parts of the Moon we've never seen before.

A 360-degree panoramic image of the moon. Picture: CNSA/CLEP/Doug Ellison
A 360-degree panoramic image of the moon. Picture: CNSA/CLEP/Doug Ellison

Prior to Chang'e-4, lunar missions have focused on the near side of the Moon (i.e. the one closest to Earth).

Travelling to the dark side of the Moon requires a link with a satellite to send information back to Earth, which China sent into space back in 2018.

NASA engineer Doug Ellison usually works on that agency's Mars missions, but he has been going through the newly released images from China's agency, processing and sharing them on his Twitter account.

He also compiled images to create this video of Chang'e-4 landing on the moon.

The CNSA said the lander and rover have both exceeded their designed lifespan but are still functioning well after entering their 14th Lunar Day.

A lunar day lasts for about 14 days on Earth.

A picture of the Chang'e-4 lander taken by the Yutu-2 Picture: CNSA/CLEP/Doug Ellison
A picture of the Chang'e-4 lander taken by the Yutu-2 Picture: CNSA/CLEP/Doug Ellison

The lander and rover power down for the long, cold and dark nights.

Later this year, China plans to send its Chang'e-5 mission, which is aimed at collecting samples from the Moon and bringing them back to Earth, which hasn't been done in over four decades.