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 October 2021Less news about Yutu-2 but he drove around 30 meters on this day.30.63 m860.00 m
3628 October – 12 November 2021The tiny moon rover is now driving in north, northeast direction. During this moon day the rover discovered a hut shaped rock at the moon horizon. This will be now the next target for the upcoming lunar days.43.20 m903.20 m
3729 November – 10 December 2021Yutu-2 made a record sprint with 62.6 meters during one lunar day. The driving destination is still the “Lunar hut”.62.6 m965.80 m
3827 December 2021 – 10 January 2022 The Yutu-2 rover made another fast sprint to reach the “Lunar hut”. But as expected it is not a artificial moon hut. It is just a rock. The scientists renamed the rock to “Jade rabbit” because it is shaped like a small gracing rabbit.38.10 m1,003.90
399 FebruaryThe Chang’e-4 moon rover inspected a smaller & younger crater on the edge of another 26 m large crater before Chinese New Year. The “Jade rabbit” was also in focus of the science investigations on this moon day. Next to the rabbit shaped rock formation the rover found 2-3 cm large translucent glass spheres. It already discovered smaller glass spheres before.61.60 m1,065.50 m
4025 February – March 10 2022Yutu-2 spotted a interesting stone formation – called “Dragon Ridge” (龙脊). The scientists decided to drive the next days to this rock to investigate this tiny ridge. The tiny moon rover sent also a photo back which shows the Chang’e-4 lander in the far distance.46.64 m1,112.14 m
41March 26 – 8 April 2022The moon rover Yutu-2 arrived the “Dragon Ridge” and investigate the rock. After the investigation the rover continued its journey to the northwest.30.24 m1,142.38 m
4227 April – 12 May 2022It is expected that the moon rover is heading more to the northwest.??

Last updated: 01 May 2022

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