The footage shows Chang’e-4’s dramatic touchdown on the lunar surface
CHINA has released incredible footage of its historic touchdown on the icy far side of the moon.
Video taken from the Chang’e-4 probe shows its view as it hovered over Earth’s rocky neighbour before quickly dropping toward its surface.
It carefully adjusts its descent to avoid ditches and dents as it plummets into the moon’s asteroid-battered Von Kármán Crater, which Chang’e-4 landed in on January 2.
Scientists think the 115-mile wide crater holds moonrocks with unusual chemistry that could help us learn more about the natural satellite’s violent past.
As Chang’e-4 lands in the black and white footage, it sends a flurry of moon dust toward the camera before finally touching down.
The probe’s lander – which is the first man-made object to ever touch down on the dark side of the moon – later launched a small rover called Jade Rabbit 2 to explore the lunar surface.
Between the two machines, China has eight scientific instruments at its fingertips to study the dark side of the moon.
They will analyse the composition of moon rock in the mysterious region, as well as radiation from the sun.
Scientists hope to uncover why the far side is so different to the near side, and explore its potential for future manned moon bases.
Because the dark side always faces away from Earth, Chang’e-4 must communicate with mission control via a satellite called Queqiao, which has orbited the moon since late December.
The probe’s lander and rover have sent back a number of incredible images since Chang’e-4 landed.
A shot snapped from the lander’s panoramic camera last week showed the pockmarked terrains and landform surrounding the probe.
In a statement, the agency said: “Researchers have completed the preliminary analysis of the lunar surface topography around the landing site based on the image taken by the landing camera.”
The statement added that the rover is “in a stable condition, and all work was carried out as planned.”
More snaps are expected as the mission continues, with Beijing hoping to run experiments until early 2020.
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