Night, night Chang'e-4: China's moon probe goes dormant for 14 days till next lunar day

The lander and the rover of China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe have been switched to dormant mode for the lunar night due to lack of solar power, a media report said on Saturday. China's Chang'e-4 lunar rover scripted history on 3 January 2019 when it made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon and sent back close-up images of the previously unexplored region, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The lander and the rover, Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2), were switched to dormant mode on Friday as scheduled, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Programme Center of the China National Space Administration.

China's Jade Rabbit-2 rover making its first wheel tracks on the far side of the moon on 3 January, 2019, after rolling down from the Chang'e 4 lander. Image courtesy: CNSA

The Chang'e-4 probe, which was switched to dormant mode during the lunar night due to the lack of solar power, had been on the far side of the moon for 778 Earth days as of Saturday, and the rover has travelled 652.62 meters. A lunar day and night each equal 14 days on Earth, the report said.

The rover is in good condition, and all scientific payloads are working normally, it said.

The Chang'e-4 probe, launched on 8 December 2018, made the first-ever soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on January 3, 2019.

The rover Yutu-2 has far exceeded its three-month design lifespan, becoming the longest-working lunar rover on the moon, the report said.

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