BEIJING — The lander and the rover of the Chang’e-4 probe have been switched to a dormant mode for the lunar night after working stably during China’s Spring Festival, according to China’s Lunar and Deep Space Exploration Center.
The lander was switched to a dormant mode at 7:00 pm on Feb 11 as scheduled, and the rover, Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2), at 7:30 pm, said the center on its official social media platform accounts. The rover will be woken up on Feb 28 and the lander on March 1.
The center said in a post that the Chang’e-4 probe worked stably during the Spring Festival. The payloads on board including the infrared imaging spectrometer and the neural atomic detector have been operating smoothly as scheduled.
Meanwhile, the lunar rover Yutu-2 has driven 120 meters on the far side of the moon, breaking the record of 114.8 meters made by its predecessor, Yutu, China’s first rover to leave trace on the lunar surface in late 2013.
China’s Chang’e-4 probe, launched on Dec 8, landed on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan 3.
A lunar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lunar night is the same length. The radioisotope heat source, a collaboration between Chinese and Russian scientists, will support the probe through the lunar night when the temperature falls to about minus 180 degrees Celsius.
The Chang’e-4 probe woke up from its first lunar night on Jan 31.