Lunar Exploration and Space Program Centre of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has said that its lunar rover Yutu-2 has travelled 170.92 metres on the far side of the Moon. The rover Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, took a "noon break" from April 2 to April 8, as the temperatures on the moon were extremely high, and continued its exploration, according to China National Space Administration. The 135-kg Yutu-2 or Jade Rabbit-2 is the first ever rover to drive on the moon’s far side. It is also the lightest rover ever sent to the moon.
The rover Yutu-2 was sent to the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan 3 for the Chang’e-4 mission. It has worked longer than its three-month design life.
Earlier, the far side of the moon was regarded as a virgin territory with unique features, and scientists expect important discoveries.
Scientists hope Jade Rabbit-2 will travel farther to send more images of the unknown terrain, "listen" to the stories recorded in the ancient lunar rocks, and find more traces of the early history of the moon and the solar system, according to a media report.
This mission is seen significant as China pushes forward its space programme. China aims to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030. It is planning to launch construction of its own manned space station next year. Xinhua said that the probe had entered an elliptical lunar orbit at 08.55 Beijing time, which brought it at its closest point just 15 kilometres away from the surface of the moon. The Chang'e-4 first entered a lunar orbit on December 12.
In support of the lunar landing programme, China will launch a carrier rocket with a 100-ton-plus payload for the first time by about 2030, the report quoted a report of the symposium published on the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the central cabinet. China's first Mars probe is scheduled to be launched on a Long March 5 by 2020 from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, South China's Hainan Province. The probe will hopefully orbit, land and deploy a rover on the Red Planet, the report said.