Although there are a lot of references to the “dark side of the Moon,” scientists state that there is actually no permanent enlightened part of the Moon, as there is no consistently light deprived side. Similarly to our planet, the Moon also has a day and night cycle, only that, on the lunar surface, one day is equivalent to 28 days on Earth. However, there actually exists a far side that never faces the Earth, which is currently being explored by the Chang’e-4’s lunar rover, Yutu-2.
It landed on the lunar surface at the beginning of this year, on 2 January. According to the Chinese media agency Xinhua, the rover switched itself into a passive inoperative mode during the lunar nights. Since it is situated on the lunar ground for five months now, this would be the fifth night that the rover experiences on the dark side of the Moon.
Chang’e-4 and Yutu-2 Entered Dormant Mode for the Lunar Night on the Dark Side of the Moon
Chang’e-4 is the first spacecraft to successfully soft-launch on the lunar surface, and it currently analyses and explores a roughly 200 kilometers wide crater situated inside the lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin to gain relevant information that might help decipher the mystery of the Moon’s origin.
Starting with 11 May, both Chang’e-4 and its rover Yutu-2 will turn to dormant modes as Xinhua stated. The Yutu-2 mission had to last, initially, only 3 months, the equivalent of three lunar days, but it extended way more than initially programmed, similar to a number of rover missions led by NASA on Mar, such as NASA’s Opportunity, which was initially said to last 90 days but ended up operation over 14 years.
Chang’e-4 and Yutu-2 are planned to spend 14 earthly days in dormant mode before they will become fully active once again and return to exploring. By this time, the rover Yutu-2 has traveled around 200 meters on the far side of the moon.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.