A detailed look at Chang’e-4

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Link here. Lots of nice information, including the fact that Chang’e-3 seems to still be functioning in a limited manner, and that Chang’e-4 is depending not on solar panels but a radioactive thermal electric system, similar I think to the RPGs that NASA uses on its deep space missions. (I am uncertain however about this, based on looking at the video at the link, which seems to show solar panels on Chang’e-4. They could be instead panels to protect the spacecraft from the sun’s heat.)

They enter lunar orbit on December 12, and will likely land in the first week of January.



  • born01930

    RPG’s? or RTG’s?

  • Col Beausabre

    Knowing the Chinese, it’s the local variant of the RPG-7


    Gotta be prepared for those sneaky aliens….

  • Jay

    I am seeing some people write that they are using an RTG and others saying it is an RHU. There is not a lot of information printed about this lander, but I bet they are using a Radioisotope Heater Unit (RHU) for heat and generate a little electricity with a thermocouple. Both lander and rover use photovoltaics for power. The RHU is a lot smaller than an RTG and we (USA) have used them on many Mars and outer planet missions for thermal management.
    I could be wrong, I wish there were more pictures of the lander, to see if has the heat dissipating fins of an RTG.

    I am interested in one of their micro-satellites that is observing the MF and HF radio bands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *