China's State Administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense has unveiled the rover for China's Chang'e 4 lunar exploration mission, which aims to explore the far side of the Moon for the first time in human history.
Chang'e 4 lander and rover will be launched in December, and is due to land in the Aitken Basin near the Moon's South Pole.
According to a Beijing News report, at 140 kilograms it is the world's lightest Moon rover. It is equipped with a panoramic camera, radar infra-red imaging spectrometer, and a neutral atom detector.
An artist's impression of the Chang'e 4 Moon rover. [Photo by China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence via Chinanews.com]
To ensure that the rover can survive the drastic temperature changes on the Moon, scientists incorporated a radioisotope heat source in the rover's power supply to keep it warm as the Moon's surface temperatures plunge as low as minus 180 degrees Celsius, says Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Chang'e lunar exploration program. The new rover has been designed to see out a three-month mission, but is expected to survive for a much longer period.
The government has launched a global campaign to name the new rover.
Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China's Chang'e lunar exploration program, unveils the Chang'e 4 rover in Beijing on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. [Photo: Chinanews.com/Sun Zifa]