China’s Chang’e 4 lander and Yutu 2 rover have captured spectacular images of the ‘dark side’ of the moon – the one invisible from Earth.
The new images were released by Chinese authorities and were captured by the rover Yutu 2.
The new release comes as Chinese scientists hope to extend the rover’s mission to a fifth lunar day (a lunar cycle of day and night is nearly 30 Earth days).
Researchers hope that low-frequency observations of the cosmos from the far side of the moon, where radio signals from Earth are blocked, will help scientists learn more about the early days of the solar system and birth of the universe’s first stars.
The far side has been observed many times from lunar orbits, but never explored on the surface.
It is popularly called the ‘dark side’ because it cannot be seen from Earth and is relatively unknown, not because it lacks sunlight.
The pioneering landing highlights China’s ambitions to rival the US, Russia and Europe in space through manned flights and the planned construction of a permanent space station.