Chang’e-4 – Landing on the far side of Moon

China’s Chang’e-4 mission is the first mission where China achieved a major first in spaceflight. They landed with a lander on the far side of Moon.

The Chang’e-4 were launched on 7th December 2018 on a Long March 3B rocket at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center and entered lunar orbit on 12th December 2018. After calibrating the orbit and checking all systems the lander with a weight of 1,060 kg achieved a soft landing on 3rd January 2019 inside of the Karman crater of the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the Moon.

The Chang’e-4 was the backup for the successful Chang’e-3 mission, so also this moon lander had a rover onboard. The rover with a weight of 140kg and a size of 1x1x1.5 meters – called Yutu-2 rolled down to the moon surface shortly after the landing and performed already for the first day a 50 meter drive. The first drive was a 160 degree drive around the lander. Lander and rover made pictures of each other. Since January 2019 the Yutu-2 rover is driving and exploring the lunar surface successful. The Yutu-2 rover is the record holder for the longest lifetime of a Moon rover since December 2019. Before the record holder was the Soviet rover Lunokhod-1 who survived 322 days on the Moon surface.

The Table shows the driving activities of the Chang’e-4 rover Yutu-2 since landing in January 2019 till End of February 2021:

Moon DayDateDetailsDistance per DayDistance total
13 – 13 January 2019Chang’e-4 landed on the moon and Yutu-2 could roll down to the moon surface.50.00 m50.00 m
230 January – 12 February 2019All systems of lander and rover of Chang’e-4 mission were nominal.60.00 m110.00 m
328 February – 13 March 2019All systems of Yutu-2 and Chang’e-4 lander was running well.53 m163.00 m
429 March – 12 April 2019All systems of lander and rover of Chang’e-4 mission were nominal.7.92 m170.92 m
528 April – 11 May 2019The rover Yutu-2 made a geological discovery: It found lunar mantle material.19.74 m197.66 m
627 May – June 9 2019Photos of craters made by Yutu-2 rover was released.22.33 m219.99 m
726 June – 8 July 2019Yutu-2 made a panorama picture of the moon.24.88 m237.87 m
825 July – 7 August 2019Chang’e-4 rover discovered a weird “muddy” structure inside of a fresh new crater. It was melted glass.33.13 m271.00 m
925 August – 5 September 2019Yutu-2 was driving West.13.66 m284.66 m
1022 September – 5 October 2019The small rover inspected some moon regolith and it’s own rover tracks.5.10 m289.00 m
1122 October – 4 November 2019Yutu-2 systems & payloads were reported to be normal.29.62 m318.62 m
1220 November – 3 December 2019All systems of Yutu-2 and lander were nominal and the rover was showing it’s tracks in the moon surface.26.44 m345.06 m
1320 December 2019 – 2 January 2020The Chang’e-4 mission was operating one year on the moon now. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter made a picture of Yutu-2 and Chang’e-4 lander.12.64 m357.70 m
1418 – 31 January 2020All systems of Yutu-2 were still healthy. The journey was still going to northwest.9.56 m367.25 m
1517 February – 1 March 2020The small moon rover made multiple pictures of the Moon surface.32.54 m399.79 m
1617 – 31 March 2020Yutu-2 made a panorama to get a view looking back to the Chang’e-4 lander.24.67 m424.45 m
1716 – 29 April 2020The rover was still driving northwest and made track pictures. All systems and payloads were operational. A new image shown the horizon from Von Kármán crater.23.23 m447.68 m
1816 – 28 May 2020Yutu-2 was now 500 days on Moon. Only the upgrade of Chinas’s Deep Space Network for Mars Mission Tianwen-1 stopped its journey.0.00 m447.68 m
1914 – 27 June 2020Yutu-2 spent the morning to inspect material within a small crater. The crater could containing possible impact melt breccia.15.58 m463.26 m
2014 – 26 July 2020Yutu-2 was still driving northwest.27.64 m490.90 m
2112 – 25 August 2020The rover passed a Chinese Mile (500 m).28.39 m519.29 m
2211 – 23 September 2020A Panoramic picture were made and the rover was driving northwest to two craters.27.88 m547.17 m
2310 – 23 October 2020Yutu-2 inspected crater Dragon Pool with it’s science payload and the panoramic camera.18.73 m565.90 m
249 – 22 November 2020All systems of lander and rover of Chang’e-4 mission were nominal.23.70 m589.60 m
259 – 21 December 2020The systems of lander and Yutu-2 rover were nominal.10.95 m600.55 m
267 – 20 January 2021Yutu-2 made some panoramic shots around noon and carried out geological detection with the science payload. 27.92 m628.47 m
275 – 18 February 2021The panorama camera on the rover was taken colored pictures of moon rocks and impact craters24.15 m652.62 m
285 – 20 March 2021Yutu-2 drove after a long time more than 30 meters and performed some research at some rocks as well. The Chang’e-5 mission clock passed over 800 earth days.30.15 m682.77 m
295 – 19 April 2021China’s moon rover Yutu-2 will continue it’s drive further northwest.26.10 m708.87 m
304 – 18 May 2021After Yutu-2 took a break on this Moon day because the Deep Space Antenna in China was used to support the Mars Mission Tianwen-1 and the landing of the Rover Zhurong.0 m708.87
313 – 17 June 2021Yutu-2 continued it’s drive further northwest. 29.73 m738.60 m
322 – 16 July 2021Yutu-2 continued it’s drive further northwest. 30.20 m 708.40 m
331 – 15 August 2021Yutu-2 continued it’s drive further northwest. 30.20 m799.00 m
3431 August – 13 September 2021After the Mars rover Zhurong finished it’s primary mission the focus will be back on the moon and Yutu-2 will get more meters under its wheels. Change’e-4 spent 1000 days on the Moon on 29th September 2021. 40.37 m839.37 m
3529 September – 12 OctoberLess news about Yutu-2 but he drove around 30 meters on this day.30.63 m860.00 m
3628 October – 12 NovemberThe tiny moon rover is now driving in north, northeast direction.??