NASA cooperates with China on moon exploration

02 February, 2019, 14:15 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • China says it's even colder on the Moon than we thought

The Chinese scientists indicated that the synchronization of the Moon's rotation with its translation movement, as the natural satellite orbits around our planet, is what causes the Moon always to show the same side towards the Earth.

China's Chang'e-4 probe touched down on the far side of the moon Thursday, becoming the first spacecraft soft-landing on the moon's uncharted side never visible from Earth.

"That's probably due to the difference in lunar soil composition between the two sides of the moon".

The lander is also equipped with an isotope thermoelectric cell and dozens of temperature data collectors to measure the temperatures on the surface of the moon during the lunar night, the report said.

China's lunar rover "Yutu-2", or Jade Rabbit 2 rolling onto the far side of the moon taken by the "Chang'e-4" lunar probe.

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Data from the Apollo missions had already revealed that the moon's sunlit surface can climb to 260 degrees Fahrenheit (127 degrees Celsius) during the day, and drop to minus 280 F (minus 173 C) at night.

China's Chang'e-4 probe, launched on Dec 8 in 2018, landed on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan 3.

The temperature was lower than conditions reported by USA missions to the near side of the moon, according to Chang'e-4 mission director Zhang He, speaking with China's state-owned news agency Xinhua. "We still need more careful analysis", Zhang was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

"If you are in a part of the Moon where it is getting dark, you will notice that a lunar night has a duration of 14 terrestrial days, meaning that that part of the Moon would be kept in darkness for two weeks", explained the staff of the Caribbean Astronomy Society in a written statement. When lunar night fell, temperatures plummeted as low as -170°C and the plant's short life came to an end.

By landing on the dark side of the moon and successfully growing plants, China has made clear its ambition to become one of the world's major superpowers in space exploration. One of the things scientists were eager to observe is just how chilly the lander and its rover would get when enduring the lunar night, and now we finally know. These include the first "low frequency radio astronomy experiment", an investigation into whether plants can grow in a low gravity environment and if interaction between solar winters and the lunar surface exists.

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