Monday, 25 March, 2019

China lands probe on far side of moon in global first

An image of the rover for China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe An image of the rover for China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe Credit Xinhua Barcroft Images
Sandra Phillips | 03 January, 2019, 08:28

The country is hailing the possibilities that the landing of Chang'e 4 opens up because this is the first time such a mission has reached the far side of the Moon.

A Chinese spacecraft on Thursday made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, state media said.

Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022, and of eventually sending humans to the moon.

It carries a number of high-end equipment which have been designed and manufactured to study and record the geology of Moon's far side that has so far not been explored.

The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side is never visible from Earth.

At the weekend, Chinese state media said the probe had entered an elliptical path around the Moon, bringing the vehicles to within 15km of the lunar surface at its closest point.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the Chang'e 4 lunar probe launches from the the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.

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The China National Space Administration (CNSA) landed the robotic probe, Chang'e 4 in the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest, oldest, deepest, crater on the moon's surface.

Photo taken by the landform camera on the Chang'e-3 moon lander on December 16, 2013 shows the Yutu moon rover during Chang'e-3 lunar probe mission's first lunar day circle.

As a solution, China in May blasted the Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite into the moon's orbit, positioning it so that it can relay data and commands between the lander and Earth.

If the mission is successful, scientists will have the opportunity to explore Moon's environment, which will be a great leap forward not only for China, but for the whole world.

The pioneering landing demonstrates China's growing ambitions as a space power.

Beijing is planning to send another lunar lander, Chang'e-5, next year to collect samples and bring them back to Earth.

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