A historic Chang’e-6 portrait of China from the far side of the moon captured using artificial intelligence

The paths of the rover, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), can be seen under the morning sunlight in the released image, along with the lander, its solar panels and robotic arm, with the ascent vehicle sitting on top of it. He. She.

The tiny robot is much smaller than its predecessors — both Yutu-1 and Yutu-2 weigh as much as two adults — but features “advanced autonomous capabilities and ultra-compact and lightweight hardware that are a testament to the team’s breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.” The report said.

If the rover is autonomous and makes choices based on data input from cameras, this will be the first use of artificial intelligence on a lunar rover, said Quentin Parker, an astrophysicist from the University of Hong Kong.

“But other systems on various Chang’e spacecraft, as well as modern lunar probes developed by countries other than China, may also have used artificial intelligence,” he added.

Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell commented that the term artificial intelligence in the context of the Chang’e-6 images was “somewhat meaningless.”

“But it shows the capabilities of the CAST software team and their ability to program complex activities in a very small spacecraft,” he said.

According to the newspaper’s report, the small vehicle is mainly tasked with taking selfies and validating autonomous smart technologies, which are essential for China’s future deep space exploration.

China is developing larger, more complex lunar probes for the Chang’e-7 and 8 missions, with the goal of building a lunar core base by 2028.

The country aims to work with global partners to expand the base into a full-sized international lunar research station for long-term scientific exploration and resource use at the lunar south pole.

China Space Daily did not reveal the number of selfies taken by the small spacecraft, and it is still unclear whether the spacecraft survived to photograph or photograph the lift-off of the ascent vehicle with the samples collected on board.

The vehicle was not equipped with thermal control devices and had to deal with extremely high temperatures on the lunar surface.

The 53-day Chang’e-6 mission is the first to recover rocks from the far side of the Moon, which constantly faces us because the Moon is tidally locked to Earth. All previous samples – collected by robotic or manned missions from the United States, the Soviet Union and China – were taken from its near side.

Chang’e-6 lifted off from the Wenchang Spaceport on southern China’s Hainan Island on May 3, and is expected to land in the country’s northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region around June 25.

The spacecraft is currently orbiting the moon with its precious payload on board and waiting for the best time to begin its journey back to Earth.

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