Chinese lunar probe snaps breathtaking panoramic PHOTOS of Moon’s far side

This composite image made available by NASA in 2011 shows the far side of Earth’s moon.
NASA  Goddard  Arizona State University via AP  

This composite image made available by NASA in 2011 shows the far side of Earth’s moon. NASA Goddard Arizona State University via AP AP

China has released photos of the far side of the moon after a Chinese spacecraft made the world's first successful landing there earlier this month.

Space program officials said they mark a success for the mission in showing the rover moving away from its lander. The photos reveal a seemingly endless horizon of grey, rocky terrain.

Among the images is a 360-degree panorama stitched together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after it released the rover onto the lunar surface, Xinhua said, citing Li Chunlai, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and commander-in-chief of the ground application system of Chang'e 4.

Panoramic image of the far side of the moon.

Like this story? Share it with a friend! The other face, most of which can not be seen from Earth, is called the far side or dark side of the Moon, not because it is dark, but because most of it is uncharted. Now, with its rover exploring the hidden side of the Moon for the first time, the country is declaring the mission a success, and it's shared some new images to boot.

Chang'e-4, the Yutu-2 and the Queqiao relay satellite that beams data back to Earth are "in a stable condition, and all work was carried out as planned", the statement said.

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

The deepest region on the moon, with a depth of 9,100 meters (5.7 miles), is about 700 kilometers (435 miles) to the south of the probe, Li said.

"The information from the depths of the Moon will be one of our focuses in the exploration", Li said. The Chang'e 4 is shown adjusting its altitude, speed and pitch as it seeks to avoid craters and uneven surfaces before it lands.

Yutu-2 is set to rover to the front side of the lander and return an image of the craft, like that taken by its predecessor Yutu for the Chang'e-3 mission above, before continuing to explore using its suite of science instruments.

The moon's surface on this side is thicker and more pitted than the familiar earth facing side.

Scientists have found evidence indicating a heavy asteroid bombardment event in the solar system around 3.9 billion years ago. The exploration might offer clues as to why the bombardment occurred, said Zou.

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