China made history on Thursday with the first soft landing on the far side of the moon.
Chang’e-4 successfully touched down in the South Pole–Aitken basin and later deployed the Yutu 2 rover. It was China’s second successful landing on the moon after Chang’e-3 touched down on the near side and deployed a rover in December 2013.
The lander includes the following payloads:
- landing and terrain cameras;
- a low-frequency spectrometer;
- a neutrons and dosimetry (LND) dosimeter supplied by Kiel University in Germany;
- a container with silkworm eggs and seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana; and,
- a miniature camera to record the growth of the eggs and seeds.
The rover’s payloads include:
- a panoramic camera;
- a lunar penetrating radar system;
- a visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer; and,
- and an advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN) provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) to measure the interaction of the solar winds with the lunar surface.
The lander and rover will communicate with the Chang’e 4 relay satellite, which was launched last year.