On January 2nd, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the Moon’s far side (not the dark side) when its Chang’e-4 probe gently touched down the surface. Now, China’s space agency has released footage of the landing.
The short video shows the robotic lander flying over the surface of the moon before abruptly tilting to descend (hovering at one point), before safely touching down in its new home, the Von Kármán crater. There, the lander released a rover, Yutu-2, which will explore the area around the lander.
The Chang’e-4 probe is China National Space Administration part of a series of missions designed to explore the surface of the moon, which started in 2007 with the Chang’e-1 orbiter, and was followed in 2010 by the Chang’e-2 orbiter, and the Chang’e-3 lander, which successfully touched down on the near side of the moon in 2013. A fifth mission, which is designed to land on the surface and return samples to Earth, is slated for the end of the year.