January 26, 2021

The Chinese robot Yutu-2 already rolls on the hidden side of the Moon | Science

The Chinese robot Yutu-2 already rolls on the hidden side of the Moon | Science

The Chinese space agency, CNSA, showed the first images of the Yutu-2 robot advancing on the surface of the Von Kármán crater, a formation of 186 kilometers in diameter covered with gray dust. There, he will begin to perform the first analysis on the ground of the hidden side of the Moon. The Yutu-2, which shares much of its technology with the first Yutu, which arrived on the Moon in 2013 with the Chang'e 3 mission, hopes to have a longer life than that machine, which broke down after traveling a little more of 100 meters.

Yutu-2 and the landing module of the Chang'e 4 probe have four instruments each with which they intend to study in detail the surface and subsoil of the crater. Within the module that will not move will also be a biological experiment that includes silkworm eggs and seeds of several plants. The objective of this work is to understand how these living beings grow in an environment with a gravity as weak as the mole.

The name of Yutu-2 (which translates as Jade-2 Rabbit) refers to a Chinese legend. According to the Xinhua news agency, Yutu is the white pet rabbit of Chang'e, the moon goddess who lent her name to the Chinese lunar mission. Legend has it that Chang'e, after swallowing a magic pill, took her pet and flew to the Moon, where she became a goddess and has since lived with the white jade rabbit.

Yutu-2 faces greater challenges than Yutu. Its landing site, the Aitken basin, is the second largest crater in the solar system. Like its predecessor, the Yutu-2, capable of withstanding vacuum pressure, intense radiation and extreme temperatures, is equipped with four scientific charges, including a panoramic camera, a spectrometer to capture infrared images and radar measurement devices to obtain images of the surface of the Moon and analyze the soil and the lunar structure.


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