Yutu-2 is a robotic lunar rover that formed part of the Chinese Chang'e 4 mission to the Moon. It was launched on 7 December 2018, 18:23 UTC. It entered lunar orbit on 12 December 2018, before landing on the Moon's far side on 3 January 2019.
Chang'e 4 lander and Yutu-2 rover
|Mission type||lunar rover|
|Mission duration||3 months (planned) |
Current: 339 days
|Launch mass||Rover: 140 kg|
|Landing mass||140 kg|
|Dimensions||1.5 × 1.0 × 1.0 m|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||7 December 2018, 18:23 UTC|
|Rocket||Long March 3B|
|Launch site||Xichang Satellite Launch Center|
|Landing date||3 January 2019, 02:26 UTC|
|Landing site||Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin|
The total landing mass is 1,200 kg (2,600 lb). Both the stationary lander and Yutu-2 rover are equipped with a radioisotope heater unit (RHU) in order to heat their subsystems during the long lunar nights, while electrical power is generated by solar panels.
After landing, the lander extended a ramp to deploy the Yutu-2 rover (literally: "Jade Rabbit") to the lunar surface. The rover measures 1.5 × 1.0 × 1.0 m (4.9 × 3.3 × 3.3 ft) and has a mass of 140 kg (310 lb). Yutu-2 rover was manufactured in Dongguan, Guangdong province; it is solar-powered, RHU-heated, and it is propelled by six wheels. The rover's nominal operating time is three months, but after the experience with Yutu rover in 2013, the rover design was improved and Chinese engineers are hopeful it will operate for "a few years."
- Panoramic Camera (PCAM), is installed on the rover's mast and can rotate 360°. It has a spectral range of 420 nm–700 nm and it acquires 3D images by binocular stereovision.
- Lunar penetrating radar (LPR), is a ground penetrating radar with a probing depth of approximately 30 m with 30 cm vertical resolution, and more than 100 m with 10 m vertical resolution.
- Visible and Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS), for imaging spectroscopy that can then be used for identification of surface materials and atmospheric trace gases. The spectral range covers visible to near-infrared wavelengths (450 nm - 950 nm).
- Advanced Small Analyzer for Neutrals (ASAN), is an energetic neutral atom analyzer provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF). It will reveal how solar wind interacts with the lunar surface, which may help determine the process behind the formation of lunar water.
The landing site is within a crater called Von Kármán (180 km or 110 mi diameter) in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the Moon that was still unexplored by landers. The site has symbolic as well as scientific value. Theodore von Kármán was the PhD advisor of Qian Xuesen, the founder of the Chinese space program.
Operations and results
A few days after landing, Yutu-2 went into hibernation for its first lunar night and it resumed activities on January 29, 2019 with all instruments operating nominally. During its first full lunar day, the rover travelled 120 m (390 ft), and on 11 February 2019 it powered down for its second lunar night. In May 2019, it was reported that Chang'e 4 has identified what appear to be mantle rocks on the surface, its primary objective.
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