China's Chang's 4 mission is a great success for the regional space agency and is already a celebration of a number of "first" ones, including being the first landing company to make a slight landing on the far side of the Moon.
The distant side of the Moon – this is the side we never see on Earth when looking at the sky – has not been studied as closely as its near side. One of the things that scientists have watched eagerly is how cold the landing gear and its rover get when it lasts for a moonlit night, and now we know it.
Talk to China Xinhua newsgroups from research from the Chinese National Space Administration have discovered that the temperatures recorded by the machines are significantly lower than predicted. It was as cold as -310 degrees Fahrenheit (-190 degrees Celsius) during the lunar night.
These cold temps are lower than other missions found on the opposite side of the Moon, and Chinese scientists believe surface composition can play a role.
"This is probably because of the difference in the composition of lunar soils between the two sides of the moon," Zhang said Xinhua.
Changer 4 Lander and his companion rover have already had a lot of time on their moon surface, but their work is still not done. Machines will continue to observe the lunar surface as well as cosmic rays and space weather.
The biggest challenge for China ahead will be the successful completion of its Changes 5 mission, which will send the landing platform to the surface of the Moon to take a sample of its material before it returns to Earth. This mission is likely for many months, but the Chinese space agency is already late and is expected to begin by the end of the year.