China's lunar lander has woken from a freezing fortnight-long hibernation to find night-time temperatures on the moon's dark side are colder than previously thought, the national space agency said yesterday.
The Chang'e-4 probe -- named after a Chinese moon goddess -- made the first ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on January 3, a major step in China's ambitions to become a space superpower.
Temperatures on the moon's surface plummeted to minus 190 degrees celsius (-310 degrees Fahrenheit) during the probe's first lunar night, which "was colder than scientists expected," the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.
The night-time temperatures were recorded by the Chinese probe after it became active on Wednesday, following a slumber that lasted for about two earth weeks.
They were lower than those recorded by previous US missions to the near side of the moon, Zhang He, executive director of the Chang'e-4 mission, told Xinhua news agency.