China says it’s even colder on the moon than we thought


China’s Chang’e 4 mission has been a rousing success for the country’s space agency and it’s already celebrated a number of “firsts,” including being the first lander to perform a soft landing on the far side of the moon.

The far side of the moon — that is, the side that we never see here on Earth when we gaze skyward — hasn’t been studied in as great of detail as its near side. One of the things scientists were eager to observe is just how chilly the lander and its rover would get when enduring the lunar night and now we finally know.

Speaking with China’s Xinhua news group, researchers from the China National Space Administration revealed that temperatures recorded by the machines is significantly lower than had been predicted. It got as cold as -310 degrees Fahrenheit (-190 degrees Celsius) during the lunar night.

Those frigid temps are lower than what other missions have found on the opposite side of the moon, and Chinese scientists believe the composition of the surface may play a role.