The Chinese space rover examined the lunar field on Friday in the first mission of the world on the surface of the far side of the moon.
Jade Rabbit 2 drove out of the ramp the previous night and on a soft, dusty surface after the Chinese spacecraft made the first soft landing on the far side of the moon. A photo posted on the Internet by the Chinese space agency showed the traces left by the rover while moving from the spacecraft.
"This is a small step for the rover, but one big leap for the Chinese nation," said Wu Weiren, chief designer of the moon research project, for the state television channel CCTV, in a famous commentary by US astronaut Neil Armstrong when he became the first man to go to the moon in 1969. "This giant leap is a decisive move for our space exploration and the conquest of the universe."
Connected with: China just landed on the far side of the moon
Previous landings of the moon, including the six US human missions from 1969 to 1972, are on the nearby side of the moon, which faces the Earth. The outer side is observed many times by the lunar orbit, but has never been explored on the surface.
The Chinese space community is proud of the successful landing, which was a technical challenge because the Moon blocks direct communication between the spacecraft and its controllers on Earth. China is trying to reach the United States and other countries in space exploration.
"Landing on the far side shows China's technology is powerful," said He Qisong, an space expert at the East China University of Science and Law in Shanghai.
While China's space program is still lagging behind America, he said that "China has already positioned itself at least as good as Russia and the European Union".
The news welcomed people on the streets of Beijing on Friday, many of whom said it shows that China can now achieve or even surpass what the United States has done.
"I think this is a very good proof that we are now able to compete with the Americans," said an employee of the energy company Yao Diyun. "You can get into the moon and so can – I think this is very good. That means our scientific and technological capability is getting stronger and the country becomes more powerful."
News inspired Dreamier Thoughts about advertising employee Shang Yuegang. "Probably a few years later ordinary people like us can also travel there to look at them," he said.
Connected with: B.C. the astronomer explains the importance of landing the Chinese on the moon
The Chinese rover has six propulsion wheels, allowing it to continue to operate even if one wheel fails. It has a maximum speed of 200 meters (220 yards) per hour and can climb a hill of 20 degrees or an obstacle high 20 centimeters (8 inches).
"The surface is soft and is similar to that when you go to the snow," said Trench Designer Shen Zenron of the Chinese Science and Technology Corporation for video surveillance.
Space research from the far side of the moon could ultimately help scientists to learn more about the early days of the solar system and even about the birth of the first stars of the universe. The outer side is popularly called the "dark side" because it can not be seen from the Earth and is relatively unknown, not because it lacks sunlight.
Ken Moritzugu, Associated Press
Like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter.