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Chang-4 spacecraft enter the moon's night, China planning future missions, cooperation



HELSINKI – Chang-4 lands and rover has driven down to a first moon's night on the far side of the moon after a successful landing and first set of surface activities.

The night began over the landing site in the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken basin late January 13, UTC, which puts an end to the mission's first day.

Using a Russian-developed radioisotope thermoelectric generator – an upgrade to the former Chang & # 39; e-3 landing and rover mission and prototype for future deep space exploration – Chang & e-4 countries will be able to run at a low level of activity and will take ground temperature measurements.

Meanwhile, the Yutu-2 rover will have folded its solar panels and gone to sleep and rely on a radioisotope heater unit for the 1

4-day day's long moon night when the temperature will jump well below -100 degrees Celsius (-148 Fahrenheit).

lands and rover will resume their science and exploration activities after sunrise early on January 28.

China has charged the mission as a complete success in terms of technical goals and will now enter the science phase.

The mission reached the first landing on the moon's long side at 9:26 Eastern Jan. 2 after launch on December 7, lunar lane deployment five days later and 21 days in polar lunar lane.

The first images from Yutu-2 rover and cylindrical and azimuth panoramas were released on Friday by the China Lunar Exploration Program, along with pictures of the landlord taken by rover and vice versa as well as speed-up footage from 12-minute descent from runway. At 15 km altitude danger to the landing site of Von Kármán crater with noticeable automated danger avoidance maneuvers takes place only during approach and later turn phase about 100 meters above the surface.

  Azimuth and cylindrical protrusions taken by Chang & e-4 lands. Credit: CLEP / CNSA
Azimuth and cylindrical projection panels taken by Chang & e-4 lands. Credit: CLEP / CNSA

Sun Zezhou, chief engineer of Chang & # 39; e-4, noted at a press conference on Monday that the landing had been accurate and set itself successfully in the middle four battlegrounds. The plan for Yutu-2 based on assessment of topography and other criteria will be to move south, followed by westward then north, when daytime resumes.

Philip Stooke of the Center for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, compares the azimuth panorama with features of the Von Kármán crater and also isolates the central top of the interior.

   Von Kármán crater (left) and azimuth panorama indicating matching edge and horizon features. Credit: Phil Stooke
Von Kármán crater (left) and azimuth panorama indicating matching rhymes and horizontal features. Credit: Phil Stooke

Test and calibration of science payload has been initiated and has returned satisfactory results, according to mission researchers. Martin Wieser from the Swedish Institute for Space Physics in Kiruna, who told SpaceNews that the advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN), a detector for energetic neutral atoms The first science data is expected by mid-February. "So far, all activities related to ASAN have worked very well," Wieser said.

The small mini-biosphere of 3 kilograms developed by Chongqing University and other Chinese higher education institutions containing fruit fly, yeast and cotton, rapeseed, potato and Arabidopsisis seeds is also underway, with the Chinese language news site Science.net reporting that The experiment was started at 10:13 on January 3 and then water added 30 minutes later, followed shortly after the first pictures.

The experiment is performed in the moon's environmental functions with low gravity, strong sunlight and radiation, according to the experiment's professor professor Xie Gengxin, who opens a new chapter in space experiments. On Tuesday, Chinese media reported the first images of the moon ship and those from a ground-based control experiment.

Next Lunar Exploration Tasks, International Cooperation

During a January 14 press conference At Chang & # 39; e-4 Mission, held by China's Cabinet, Wu Yanhua, Vice President of China's National Space Management (CNSA) and other mission officials and researchers provide a number of key innovations, areas of co-operation and challenges, particularly by touching on ongoing and future international cooperation and future missions.

It was established that China and US counterparts had been in regular contact prior to the mission and arranged monitoring of the planned landing area of ​​NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to provide data for the landing. While real-time monitoring of the Chang & # 39; e-4 landing at LRO was discussed, the spacecraft's respective circuits decided this.

On future activities, Wu told reporters that China would be involved in the Russian Luna 26 Lunar Orbiter mission, which will then play a role in potential Chinese lunar south pole landings.

As part of a new phase of lunar exploration, the Chang & e-7 mission, launched in the early 2020s, will involve "extensive exploration of the Moon South Pole", including landscape, composition and room environment. Chang-e-8 will continue with existing tasks at the bar, but will also test key technologies on the lunar surface, possibly along with international partners. The missions were described as being in the conceptual design phase.

China, the United States, Russia and the European countries "discuss whether to establish a research station on the moon for 3D printing and for other technologies," said Wu, adding that Chang & e; e-8 will lay the foundation for Chinese and foreign scientists to establish such a base.

More immediately, it was said that China will launch the Chang & e-5 moon test return at the end of the year, followed by the launch of Mars orbiter and rover in July or August 2020.

It was not specified that both of these depend on a successful return trip of the powerful rocket in long March 5, currently expected in Q2 2019. Chang-e-5 was expected to fly in November 2017 but was delayed by the missing second on March 5 of July of the same year


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