China’s space agency has posted a photo of a lunar rover making tracks on the surface shortly after leaving a spacecraft that had made the first-ever landing on the moon’s far side.

The Jade Rabbit 2 rover drove off a ramp and onto the moon at 10:22 p.m. Thursday, about 12 hours after the Chang’e 4 spacecraft touched down.

Lunar project chief designer Wu Weiren called the separation of the rover “a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation.”

Other countries have sent spacecraft to the side of the moon that faces Earth. The Chinese mission is the first to the far side, sometimes called the dark side because it is relatively unknown.

In this photo provided on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, Yutu-2, China's lunar rover, leaves wheel marks after leaving the lander that touched down on the surface of the far side of the moon. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
In this photo provided on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, Yutu-2, China’s lunar rover, leaves wheel marks after leaving the lander that touched down on the surface of the far side of the moon. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
This photo provided on Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency shows an image taken by China's Chang'e-4 probe during its landing process. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
This photo provided on Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency shows an image taken by China’s Chang’e-4 probe during its landing process. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
In this photo provided on Jan. 3, 2019, by the China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, an image taken by China's Chang'e-4 probe after its landing. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
In this photo provided on Jan. 3, 2019, by the China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, an image taken by China’s Chang’e-4 probe after its landing. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
In this photo provided Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, the first image of the moon's far side taken by China's Chang'e-4 probe. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)
In this photo provided Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, the first image of the moon’s far side taken by China’s Chang’e-4 probe. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)

Source: The Associated Press

Tags: Categories: Space Science