China’s national space agency has released the first panoramic images of the far side of the Moon since the historic landing earlier this month.
The Chang’e 4 probe successfully performed the first soft landing on the Moon’s far side on 3 January.
The lander succeeded in its first task of deploying its rover – named Yutu-2 – which has started exploring the Moon’s Von Karman crater.
The lunar probe last week transmitted early images of its exploration on the far side, and the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) has now released the first panoramic shot of its landing site.
The 360-degree photo shows the grey moonscape, the lander and the rover.
In a statement released on its website, the CNSA said researchers had completed the preliminary analysis of the lunar surface topography around the landing site.
It is the first time a soft landing has been performed on the Moon’s far side – also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown – due to challenges relaying signals.
Some of the experiments aboard will investigate the Moon’s potential to support future space travellers.
One of those experiments is a biosphere project, which includes silkworm eggs, thale cress and potato seeds.
If it goes to plan, the ecosystem would be self-sustaining, with the silkworms germinating the potatoes and popping out caterpillars.
These would in turn produce carbon dioxide, helping the plants grow as a food source.
Because the far side faces away from Earth, it is also shielded from radio transmissions – making it the perfect place from where to study the universe.
The mission is part of China’s ambitious push to explore the Moon’s resources and its potential as a space base.