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Global Times

China's Chang'e-4 probe switches to dormant mode following new discoveries

Global Times

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/24 20:18:20

The lander and the rover of the Chang'e-4 probe have been switched to dormant mode for the lunar night after working stably for a 22nd lunar day and according to the latest study, the materials detected by the rover, Yutu-2, come from the nearby Finsen impact crater rather than the basalt erupted from the lunar mantle.

During the 22nd lunar day, Yutu-2 explored an impact crater about 1.3 km northwest of the landing site, the Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday, citing the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

According to a recent study published in the journal Nature Astronomy, Chinese researchers have determined the thickness of the regolith and revealed the fine subsurface structures and evolutionary history of the Chang'e-4's landing site, Xinhua reported.

The scientific team carried out an in-depth study of the radar detection data and obtained important discoveries on the lunar soil and shallow structure in the landing zone. The shallow structure profile indicates that the material detected by Yutu-2 comes from the nearby Finsen impact crater, and not the basalt erupted from the lunar mantle, Xinhua said.

These new discoveries are of great significance to the understanding of the evolution of the South Pole-Aitken basin of the moon, and are important for the subsequent exploration and study of the composition and structure of the lunar interior.

The researchers used a near-infrared spectrometer, panoramic camera and lunar radar carried by Yutu-2 and other data, and have achieved a number of scientific results which have been recently published in international journals.

Launched on December 8, 2018, the Chang'e-4 probe 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 Chang'e-4 lander and Yutu-2 rover completed their 22nd lunar day of work on Thursday, receiving ground instructions to set the lunar night mode settings for dormant mode.

A lunar day is equal to 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length. The Chang'e-4 probe, switching to dormant mode during the lunar night due to the lack of solar power, has survived 630 Earth days on the moon as of Thursday, and the rover traveled 547.17 meters on the far side of the moon.



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