The rover successfully landed on the far side of the Moon on January 3, a scientific first that will boost Beijing's ambitions to become a space superpower, state media said.
Landing the vessel, named after Chang'e, the goddess of the Moon in Chinese mythology, was no easy feat.
Adding to the complexity of the mission, radio waves transmitted from the "dark" or far side of the moon do not reach earth.
The images are close-ups of the moon's dark side, showing its cratered surface.
All this makes China's achievement even more impressive, showcasing that the world's most populous country has also become a major player in space exploration.
The moon was first visited by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, and the USA, the former Soviet Union, and China have all landed spacecraft on its surface in the years since.
The Chang'e-4 probe, carrying eight payloads including two developed through worldwide cooperation, will conduct low-frequency radio astronomical observation, survey the terrain and landforms, detect the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure and measure the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon, according to CNSA. All science data from the far side of the moon and the Chinese lander will be relayed back to Earth via the Queqiao relay satellite.
The near and far side of the moon. Credits NASA
For now, China plans to send a Chang'e 5 spacecraft to the moon next year and have it return to Earth with collected particles.
The Chang'e 4 mission launched in early December. "We have a responsibility to explore and to understand it. Exploration of the moon will also deepen our understanding of the earth and ourselves". China's space agency was quick to post new photos snapped from the lander, declaring the touchdown and deployment of its lunar rover a success.
The landing was also greeted by Nasa administrator Jim Brindestine. The collision is likely to have thrown up material from the moon's interior, meaning that Chang'e 4 could provide new clues as to how the natural satellite was formed.
The honest-to-goodness announcement came via several state-run media outlets just after noon Beijing time (8 p.m. PT). Several of the instruments aboard Chang'e 4 were previously used in the Yutu lander.
"There are rocks all over the far side that are four billion years old", she continued. The Chang'e 2 followed in 2010 to carry out high-definition imaging of the moon and investigate landing conditions for the Chang'e 3.
In preparation for the mission, China launched a relay satellite in May that allowed scientists to maintain control of the probe and land on the surface.
Chinese space officials have discussed sending crewed missions to the moon in the 2020s or 2030s, and potentially building an outpost near the lunar south pole.
Image: The dark side of the moon when the detector is powered down.
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