Chang’e-4 probe to mea­sure lu­nar tem­per­a­tures dur­ing freez­ing night: CAST

Global Times - - TOP NEWS -

The night on the moon is dark and cold, yet Chi­nese sci­en­tists don’t know ex­actly how cold it can be. The Chang’e-4 probe, which made the first-ever soft­land­ing on the far side of the moon, will help them mea­sure the moon’s tem­per­a­tures.

A lu­nar day equals 14 days on Earth, and a lu­nar night is the same length. Tem­per­a­tures vary enor­mously be­tween day and night on the moon. The sci­en­tific in­stru­ments on its lan­der are still oper­at­ing af­ter more than 60 lu­nar nights in the past five years. “It was a suc­cess, but Chang’e-3 was de­signed ac­cord­ing to for­eign tem­per­a­ture data,” said Zhang He, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Chang’e-4 probe project, from the China Academy of Space Tech­nol­ogy (CAST).

Tan Mei, a con­sul­tant for the probe from CAST, said Chang’e-4 will switch to a “sleep mode” dur­ing the lu­nar night due to the lack of so­lar power, and rely on the ra­dioiso­tope heat source, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Chi­nese and Rus­sian sci­en­tists, to keep warm.

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