Yutu 2 is now longest working rover on moon

2019-12-13 09:33:59China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's Yutu 2 rover has been in operation on the lunar surface for more than 340 days, becoming the longest working rover on the moon, according to the China National Space Administration.

The administration's Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center said on Thursday that before Yutu 2, the record was held for over 48 years by the former Soviet Union's Lunokhod 1, which was carried by the Luna 17 spacecraft and landed on the moon on Nov 17, 1970.

The Soviet robotic vehicle operated on the lunar surface for 11 lunar days, or 321 Earth days, and traversed a total distance of 10.5 kilometers before ceasing operation on Oct 4, 1971.

Yutu 2, China's second lunar rover, is part of the ongoing Chang'e 4 mission.

The Chang'e 4 unmanned probe was lifted atop a Long March 3B rocket in December 2018 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province to begin the country's fourth lunar exploration and the world's first expedition to the moon's far side, which never faces Earth.

The probe made a soft landing on the far side on Jan 3 and released the Yutu 2 later that day to roam and survey the landing site in the South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest and deepest known basin in the solar system.

Currently, the Chang'e 4's lander and the rover are in their 12th dormancy. The Yutu 2 has traveled nearly 350 meters on the lunar soil, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center.

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth-a lunar night, the same length. During the lunar night, the temperature falls below minus 180 C and there is no sunlight to provide power to the probe.

In another development, the lander of the Chang'e 3 probe, the first Chinese spacecraft to soft-land on the moon, has started its 75th lunar-day working session, which means it has been working on the moon for 2,189 Earth days and continues to hold the record for the longest operational stay by an artifact on the moon, the center said.

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