On January 2nd, 2019, China became the first country to land a spacecraft onto the moon’s far side. The Chang’e-4 lander and rover touched down on the surface of our moon at 9:26 p.m. Eastern time.
A few hours after landing, the Jade Rabbit 2 rover rolled off the lander to explore the 186km wide Von Karman crater. The crater is located inside a 2,500-kilometer-wide basin. The China National Space Administration chose this exact location to explore one of the oldest known impact features that can be found in our solar system. Experts believe that there are exposed parts of the moon’s interior at this location and that exploring this particular part of the moon can give us some sort of insight into the moon’s early history and the way it was formed.
The rover has been fitted with measuring instruments to determine the region’s composition. It uses a radar that is capable of penetrating the ground and then take pictures of a never before seen landscape. Radiation and charged particle measurements are also going to be carried out. This is necessary to determine how safe the moon’s surface is for astronauts to land again and to check whether plants and insects can thrive on the moon.
The biggest issue the mission is facing is the communication with the rover since it is exploring the side of the moon that is never visible from Earth. This is why China launched a satellite named Magpie Bridge in 2018 capable of relaying messages from Chang’e-4 to Earth and back.
This is only the second time that China completed a successful landing onto the moon’s surface. They have more lunar missions planned, and a mission to collect moon rocks is due later in 2019.
As her name suggests, Jenna Small stands little over 4ft tall. Being petite and blonde, many often underestimate her talent. As a result, she spent her entire life working twice as hard to prove that she was the best. Now an established geologist, she does not beat around the bush when it comes to her work. Her research has been published and used in schools throughout the region. She often states that her most significant accomplishment was choosing to better herself through a solid education. When she is not busy unearthing new findings, she volunteers as a motivational speaker to girls who have been victims of bullying, discrimination, or harassment.