A rover from China’s Chang’e 4 probe has left the first ‘footprint’ by a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, according to state media.
The rover, known as Jade Rabbit 2, left the impression late on Thursday after successfully separating from the lander, Xinhua news agency said.
The markings in the ‘loose lunar soil’ were recorded by the lander and the images sent back to the Earth via the relay satellite ‘Queqiao’, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) was quoted as saying.
Chang’e 4 arrived on the far side of the moon earlier on Thursday, landing in the Aitken Crater, named after US astronaut Robert Grant Aitken, near the moon’s South Pole.
China has become the first country to land an object on the far side of the moon, a mission forming part of an ambitious space program that stretches decades into the future.
The Chang’e 4 probe, named after the Chinese goddess of the moon, carries a lander and a rover tasked with exploring the lunar surface and conducting experiments.
Planned experiments include measuring the satellite’s water content and gauging the moon’s radiation using an instrument developed by a team of German researchers.
Chang’e 4 is also carrying seeds for an experiment in cultivating vegetables in a closed environment on the lunar surface.