"Although this was one small step for the rover, I think it is one big step for the Chinese people", he said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV, echoing the famous quote by USA astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon in 1969.
As China's space agency CNSA explains in a new post on its website, the Chang'e 4 lander arrived on schedule on the Moon's surface and quickly deployed the Yutu rover.
The photo of the rover was sent via the Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) satellite, which was blasted into the moon's orbit in May to relay data and commands between the lander and Earth.
Close-up view of the wheel of the Chang'e-4 rover 'Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2). It can climb a 20-degree hill or an obstacle up to 8 inches tall. Its maximum speed is 200 meters (220 yards) per hour. According to Andrew Jones, a journalist reporting on the Chinese space program, Chang'e 4's descent required "laser ranging and optical cameras for navigation, velocity, and coarse hazard avoidance".
Legend has it that Chang'e, after swallowing a magic pill, took her pet and flew toward the moon where she became a goddess and has lived with the white jade rabbit ever since.
The landing appears to have been accomplished without any major issues, however, and the Chinese lander and rover will be able to begin exploring the moon's far side, an environment astronauts and spacecraft have until today only seen from afar.
The mission highlights China's growing ambitions to rival the U.S., Russian Federation and Europe in space, and more broadly, to cement its position as a regional and global power. The country aims to land a crewed flight on the moon in the coming decade. "This is a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment!"
However, the moon spins much more slowly than Earth does, which means that a lunar day cycle lasts almost 709 hours or almost 30 terrestrial days, according to NASA.
The lunar far side is often referred to as the "dark side", though "dark" in this case means "unseen" rather than "lacking light". By comparison, NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars weighs about 181 kilogrammes, and the Curiosity rover there is much bigger, at 908 kilogrammes.
The spacecraft is largely a clone of Chang'e-3, which landed on the moon in 2013.
The first Chang'e spacecraft was launched in 2007 to verify China's lunar probe technology, obtain lunar images and perform scientific surveys.