China completed a first in lunar exploration on Thursday, January 3rd, as its spacecraft Chang’e 4 (named after the Moon goddess in Chinese lore) landed on the lunar farside.
The spacecraft touched down at lunar longitude 177.6°E, latitude 45.5°S in Von Kármán crater at 2:26 Universal Time (UT), as per China’s University of Geosciences at Wuhan. The lander wasted no time getting straight to work, snapping images of the lunar terrain. The small Yutu 2 rover rolled down the ramp and started exploring Von Kármán crater on the same day at 14:22 UT.
Launched atop a Long March 3B rocket on December 7, 2018, from the Xichang Space Center in China, Chang’e 4 took several weeks to reach lunar orbit.