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China: Yutu 2 lunar rover sleeps on far side after record travel

By Zhao Lei / China DailyBEIJING — China’s Yutu 2 lunar rover has entered its eighth period of dormancy on the moon’s far side and is in good condition after traveling 271 meters, according to China National Space Administration.

In a statement sent to China Daily on Aug. 8, the administration said the rover, China’s second movable robot on the moon after Yutu, was switched to dormant mode at around 5:50 p.m. on Aug. 7 after receiving signals from ground control. Yutu 2 is part of the Chang’e 4 robotic probe.

Before its dormancy, the machine had traveled 271 meters on the lunar surface, more than double the distance covered by Yutu, which reached the moon in December 2013 and worked there until July 2016.

The administration said that on the lunar day that just ended, Yutu 2 and Chang’e 4’s lander, which has also entered a dormancy period, obtained a great deal of scientific data.

A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is 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.

Chang’e 4 was lifted atop a Long March 3B rocket in early December at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province to make the country’s fourth lunar exploration and the world’s first expedition to the moon’s far side, which never faces Earth.Speech

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