First 360-degree image of the far side of the Moon released


China released footage of Chang'e-4 lunar probe's touchdown on the far side of the moon and photos of the lander and rover, state media reported on Friday (January 11). The photos reveal a seemingly endless horizon of grey, rocky terrain.

This is the second Chinese probe to land on the moon, following the Yutu (Jade Rabbit) rover mission in 2013.

Chang'e 4 touched down on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin in the morning of January 3.

Like this story? Share it with a friend! Expect those tracks from the rover's tires to lengthen in future photographs.

The next phase "landing" will be carried out by the Chang'e-5 probe and it plans to collect 2 kilograms of moon soil and bringing it back to the earth.

The rover, named after the moon goddess's pet rabbit, successfully separated from the lander and drove onto the moon's surface last Thursday. "They have reached the predetermined engineering goals, right now they are getting into the stage of scientific searches", Zhang Kejian, director of the China National Space Administration, said before engineers at the Beijing centre.

In 2013, China became just the third country, after the USA and the then-Soviet Union, to successfully "soft land" on the Moon when its Chang'e 3 lander reached the lunar surface.

The CNSA on Friday released several images taken by the Chang'e-4 probe transmitted back via the relay satellite Queqiao.

"From the panorama, we can see the probe is surrounded by lots of small craters, which was really thrilling", Li said.

He said the Chang'e-4 landed at an altitude of almost minus 6,000 metres.

Information can not be sent directly from the lunar far side to Earth - the moon's bulk gets in the way.

We Earthlings only ever get to glimpse one face of the Moon since the satellite is tidal locked to our planet.

The space administration also released a 12-minute video of Chang'e 4's landing utilizing more than 4,700 images taken by an onboard camera. From this photo, researchers were able to analyze the lunar surface topography of the far side of the moon. The probe is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid obstacles on the ground.