Russia's Roscosmos head congratulates Chinese colleagues on successful landing of Chang'e-4

Russia's Roscosmos head congratulates Chinese colleagues on successful landing of Chang'e-4

It then released a rover, named Yutu-2, which rolled out onto the surface down a ramp.

The rover touched the lunar surface at 10:22 pm (local time) on Thursday, leaving a trace on the soft, snow-like surface.

"With the communication assistance of the relay satellite Queqiao, the lander sent back the first-ever close-up photograph of the Moon's far side, opening a new chapter in lunar exploration".

In this photo provided January 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, Yutu-2, China's lunar rover, leaves wheel marks after leaving the lander that touched down on the surface of the far side of the moon. When Earth views a darkened new moon, the far side is lit.

Launched on Dec 8, 2018, China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe, comprising a lander and a rover, landed on the far side of the moon Thursday morning. One of the initial images sent back by Chang'e 4 shows a small crater and barren surface on the far side of the moon.

Lunar exploration chief Wu Weiren echoed Neil Armstrong's famous quote, telling state media the event marked a "huge stride" for China.

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"The landing on the far side shows China's technology is powerful", said He Qisong, a space expert at the East China University of Science and Law in Shanghai.

As the New York Times points out, the crater where Chinese probe landed is the oldest and deepest on the moon.

The craft, which is 5 feet long and about 3.3 feet wide and tall, made its final descent from a landing orbit 9.3 miles above the moon's surface.

China is only the third country, alongside the US and Russian Federation, to send its own astronauts into space aboard its own rockets, and only the USA and China have the fiscal and technical wherewithal to mount significant long-term programs for exploring space.

The Jade Rabbit 2 rover has six wheels that all have power, so it can continue to operate even if one wheel fails. With Chang'e 4 mission, China becomes the first country to ever successfully reach the far side of the moon. The vehicle can slant up to 20 degrees and overcome obstacles up to 20 centimeters in size.

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