Chinese Moon Rover Making Tracks on Lunar Far Side

The Yutu 2 rover moving farther across the moon's surface

The collection of data from the invisible side of the moon began with the Jadehase 2 robotic vehicle, the vehicle carried by the Chinese satellite Chang'e 4, which for some hours has been laid on the moon side that we cannot see.

And, yes, it was both creepy and shameless that in hailing the moon landing, Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Lunar Exploration Project, riffed off (or ripped off, depending on your point of view) the famous Neil Armstrong quote, declaring: "It's a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation".

China has chosen the name "Yutu-2", or Jade Rabbit-2, for its new moon rover, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced late Thursday.

The United States and the Soviet Union have made a "soft landing" on the moon - China landed a rover there in 2013 - but no other country has touched down on the dark side of the moon, which always faces away from the Earth.

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This close-up photo taken by the Chang'e-4 probe shows the far side of the Moon.

While past missions have been to the Earth-facing side, this is the first time ever a spacecraft has landed on the unexplored far side of the moon.

China's Chang'e 4 craft captured a close-up photo of the far side of the moon. When there's a full moon in our sky, the far side is dark.

"This space mission shows that China has reached the advanced world-class level in deep space exploration", Zhu Menghua, a professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology who has worked closely with China's space administration, told The New York Times.

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While China's space program still lags America's, He said "China has already positioned itself at least as good as Russian Federation and the European Union". "We Chinese people have done something that the Americans have not dared try."China plans to put astronauts on a lunar base in about 10 years".

The Chinese rover has six powered wheels, allowing it to continue to operate even if one wheel fails. It can climb a 20-degree hill or an obstacle up to 20 centimeters (8 inches) tall.

"The surface is soft and it is similar to that when you are walking on the snow".

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