Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2) Ends Its Mission – What’s Next?

Yutu-2 rover landed on the Moon on January 3, 2019. The Chinese rover has driven almost 400 meters already. To be more specific, China’s rover has driven 1,204 feet so far, which, if converted to meters, means 367.25 meters.

According to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration, Yutu-2 rover and Chang’ e-4 lander are working during the day, and they switch off during the night time on the Moon.

Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu-2 lunar rover

So far, the Yutu-2 rover is worked correctly on the lunar land, following the planned route with no system errors. The rover is getting ready to return to Earth after 14 days of exploring the Moon.

“The neutron radiation detector and low-frequency radio spectrometer on the lander worked normally and acquired first-hand scientific data. On the rover, the near-infrared spectrometer, panoramic camera, neutral atom detector, and lunar radar carried out scientific exploration as planned,” explained Xinhua, China’s state-run.

As for the Chinese Chang’ e-4 lander, it was sent to the far side of the Moon on December 8, 2018. It was the first rover to soft-land within the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin.

China’s future lunar mission

China’s next goal is sending Chang’ e-4 lander successor on the Moon. Chang’ e-5 mission is scheduled to launch by the end of this year. The latest Chang’ e is an 8.2-metric-ton rover. The rover has an orbiter, an ascender, and a returner aw well as a lander. Its mission is to bring back the lunar sample collection.

After more than 40 years, this Chang’ e-5 would be the first spacecraft to attempt the first lunar sample return to Earth.

“The quantity of samples it will bring back depends on many factors, such as the landing site’s geology. We hope that it can collect at least 1 kilogram, and if everything goes well, it may bring two kilograms or even more,” said Peng Jing, deputy chief designer of the Chang’ e-5 probe at the China Academy of Space Technology.

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