China's Chang’e 4 lander and Yutu 2 rover have captured new images on their successful mission to explore the far side of the moon as the duo looks to extend their study to a fifth lunar day.
On the moon, the cycle of day and night is nearly 30 Earth-days in total, with each lasting about two weeks long.
The new images captured from the rover, Yutu 2 and released this month, offer up more of the mission's journey after a first round of pictures was released after their arrival on the 115-mile wide Von Kármán Crater in January.
Objectives of the lander and rover mission -- the first-ever to target exploration of the moon's far side -- include analyzing chemical differences between the Earth-facing side of the moon and the mission's target area.
As reported by the Planetary Society, no hard science regarding the Chang’e 4's mission has emerged yet, but scientists involved with the project said the surveyed area shows 'potential evidence of excavated deep mafic material, which could reveal the mineralogy of the lunar mantle.'
The far side of the moon, which is the hemisphere that always faces away from Earth, has yet to be explored by any such missions before and like its Earth-visible counterpart, the location experiences intervals of two weeks of sunlight and two weeks of darkness.
According to a report by Space.com, Chang’e 4's mission has already greatly exceeded expectations.
The spacecraft were only initially designed to last about three lunar days in total.
Both the lander and rover are currently in hibernation mode, resting during a lunar night, but on April 28, when another two-week day dawns on the far side of the moon, both would be going on their fifth lunar day, given they're still fully intact.
Because of the daytime's brutal temperatures which soar to 390 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), the rover is also required to take intermittent 'naps' -- brief periods of hibernation -- until it's able to move again.
Even despite the hazards and obstacles of exploring the far side of the moon, the Yutu 2 has managed to travel just under 180 meters during its one-month stay.
With what data scientists already have already collected and whatever bonus material the rover is able to glean on potential endeavors later this month, researchers plan to analyze and then publish results in about a month, according to the Planetary Society.
In addition to satisfying humans' curiosity regarding the far side of the moon, the mission will also help to illuminate scientists understanding about the makeup of our early solar system.
Craters studied by the rover were created by an ancient impact where layers of the moon's mantle are exposed, where they can be studied to determine its contents and more.
WHY DID CHINA CHOOSE TO LAND IN THE VON KARMAN CRATER?
Chang'e-4 landed in the Von Karman crater in the South Pole-Aitken basin.
This is an enormous crater which resides at the very most southern tip of the moon.
China opted to study the far side of the moon and has in the process beat all other nations to the landmark moment.
The basin is so far the largest known impact basin in the solar system.
China's space agency hopes that by exploring the huge divot on the surface of the moon they may be able to shed some light on its history and geology by collecting rocks that have never been seen before.
Researchers hope the huge depth of the crater will allow them to study the moon's mantle, the layer underneath the surface, of the moon.
The crater is believed to be composed of various chemical compounds, including thorium, iron oxide, and titanium dioxide.
It is also hoped that by judging this 8-mile deep scar on the surface of the moon the scientists could find clues to piece together the origin of the lunar mantle.
There is also another logistical reason for the choice of landing site, the crater is mostly flat in the south of the basin.
This increased the likelihood of a successful landing.