China Lands Spacecraft on 'Dark' Side of Moon

A rocket lifts off from the Xichang launch center in China's southwestern Sichuan province early on Dec. 8 2018 the day the rover was launched

A rocket lifts off from the Xichang launch center in China's southwestern Sichuan province early on Dec. 8 2018 the day the rover was launched

A simulated landing process of Chang'e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 3, 2019.

This marks the first time that China has completed a significant space mission that was not already performed previously by the United States or Russian Federation.

As The Verge reports, exploring the far side of the Moon is a very hard task because it's always facing away from the Earth meaning communication is extremely hard.

That's because the Chinese lunar probe, Chang'e-4, became the first manmade spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon. Chang'e is the name of a Chinese goddess who, according to legend, has lived on the moon for millennia.

The moon is what scientists call "tidally locked " which means the same side always faces us, while another side always faces away, Loeb said.

TRT World spoke to Associate Professor of Astrophysics at Keele University Jacco van Loon.

The move is seen as a major boost to Beijing's quest to become a space superpower.

It was not until 1959 that the Soviet Union captured the first images of the heavily cratered surface, uncloaking some of the mystery of the moon's "dark side".

The Long March 3B rocket, transporting the Chang'e-4 lunar rover, lifting off from the Xichang launch centre in December.




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.

Early reports unleashed confusion after state-run media China Daily and CGTN deleted tweets celebrating the mission. However, Chang'e-3 landed on the Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on the moon's near side. The Chinese state media announced that they've successfully landed their rover on the far side of the moon on Thursday morning.

The rover will also conduct mineral and radiation tests, the China National Space Administration has said, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The US is the only other country to have made successful moon landings in the past - including the most famous of all in 1969 when Neil Armstrong took his famous steps onto the moon's surface.

Chang'e 4, a combined lander and rover, will make astronomical observations and probe the composition of the soil. Key goals include catapulting a permanent space station into orbit by 2022 and eventually sending men to the moon.

CNSA also shared an image of the moon's surface after the landing.

The Chang'e 4 lander is the fourth of six planned lunar missions.

China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, becoming only the third country to do so after Russian Federation and the U.S. It has put a pair of space stations into orbit and plans to launch a Mars rover in the mid-2020s.

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