Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Chinese probe measured night-time temperature on the moon

Chinese probe measured night-time temperature on the moon

Earth's moon is tidally locked to the planet, meaning that the same side of the moon faces us at all times.

The Yutu 2 rover rolls away from the Chang'e 4 lander shortly after the mission's historic January 3 touchdown on the moon's far side.

"That´s probably due to the difference in lunar soil composition between the two sides of the moon", he said.

The Polar Vortex is nothing compared to the cold temperatures on the Moon, according to data from a Chinese probe. The rest mode was necessary due to the frigid nighttime temperatures on the lunar far side, which plunged as low as -310 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperatures on the moon's surface plummeted to minus 190 degrees celsius during the probe's first lunar night, which "was colder than scientists expected", the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

The static lander, which launched on 7 December, touched down at 10:26 am Beijing time on 3 January in the South Pole-Aitken basin.

"From the panorama, we could see the probe was surrounded by many small craters".


"If you are in a part of the Moon where it is getting dark, you will notice that a lunar night has a duration of 14 terrestrial days, meaning that that part of the Moon would be kept in darkness for two weeks", explained the staff of the Caribbean Astronomy Society in a written statement.

But day also carries the risk of correspondingly high temperatures.

China's first lunar rover, the 2013 Chang'e-3 mission's Yutu, travelled just 114 metres before encountering an issue to ended the rover's mobility. That includes sending another lunar lander to the Moon at the end of the year on the first sample return mission in decades.

"According to the measurements of Chang'e-4, the temperature of the shallow layer of the lunar soil on the far side of the moon is lower than the data obtained by the U.S. Apollo mission on the near side of the moon", said Zhang He, executive director of the Chang'e-4 probe project, from the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST). The machines will continue to make observations of the lunar surface as well as cosmic radiation and space weather.

The Chang'e-4 mission embodies China's hope to combine human wisdom in space exploration, with four payloads developed by the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

NASA's Curiosity rover also adopts this power technology, freeing it from the sunshine, sand and dust restrictions that have affected its predecessors Opportunity and Spirit, he explained.

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