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Chinese lunar rover makes tracks on the far side of the moon

China's Chang'e 4 mission sets the Jade Rabbit 2 rover loose on an unexplored part of the moon's surface.

The Jade Rabbit 2 rover left the lander on Jan. 3.

There are now wheel tracks on the far side of the moon.

China's Chang'e 4 mission touched down this week on the side of the moon that faces away from Earth, sometimes called the dark side of the moon, but more accurately known as the far side. On Thursday, the China National Space Administration sent the Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2) rover off to go exploring.

Images provided by CNSA show the rover shortly after it left the ramps from the Chang'e 4 lander. A second image shows it in the distance, leaving behind a set of tracks in the lunar soil.

The Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2) rover explores the far side of the moon.


The solar-powered rover is equipped with a panoramic camera and an infrared imaging spectrometer, according to China state news agency Xinhua. Despite the Pink Floyd-perpetuated "dark side" concept, the far side of the moon receives plenty of sunlight. 

The Jade Rabbit 2 is a follow-up to the original Jade Rabbit rover, which traveled along with the Chang'e 3 lunar lander in 2013. 

Chang'e 4 is the first spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon, giving us an unprecedented close look at a mysterious part of our lunar neighbor. The mission is focused on documenting the far side and studying the geology of the area. 

Jade Rabbit 2 should soon give us some fascinating new views of the lunar landscape to contemplate.