China lands probe on far side of moon in global first

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China's landing on the far side of the moon is about more than exploring the unexplored but about having first-mover advantage over the resources that may possibly come to light.

Unlike the near side of the moon that is "tidally locked" and always faces the earth - complete with many flat areas to touch down on - the far side is mountainous and rugged.

Humanity first visited the moon decades ago, but today is the first time a mission has made a soft landing on the moon's far side. The relay satellite, dubbed Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge", a name inspired by a Chinese folk tale), is required because there's never any direct line of sight between Earth and Chang'e-4. That was China's first moon landing and the beginning of its second mission phase.

Chang’e 4 Moon Farside

At 100 meters up, the probe hovered to identify obstacles and measured the slopes on the surface.

Chang'e-4 made an nearly vertical landing, said Mr Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration programme.

"It's a milestone for China's lunar exploration project", Yang Yuguang, of the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation in Beijing, told China Global Television Network, a state operated English television channel.


In this photo provided January 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, the first image of the moon's far side taken by China's Chang'e-4 probe.

Chang'e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the moons' far side.

China's National Space Administration (CNSA) landed the craft in the basin's Von Kármán crater-the oldest and deepest crater on the moon's surface. "We are very happy to be a part of it". China prepared for this mission by deploying the Queqiao satellite in May 2018. Indeed, this communication complication is a big reason why the far-side surface had not previously welcomed any functioning spacecraft (though a few probes have crashed there over the years).


Previous moon missions have mostly focused on the Earth-facing side of the moon.

The rover and lander will be able to gather information about the composition and formation of the far side, which has a distinctly different appearance from the near side. However, the reality is still a mystery, and only on site exploration will reveal the truth.

There is much to explore on the far side of the moon. When Chang'e 3 landed successfully, the team set to work reconfiguring Chang'e 4 for its far side deployment. They also intend to begin sending probes to Mars. CNSA goes on to say that the spacecraft will also grow vegetables and flowers inside an airtight container. Scientists note that the far side of the moon is quiet and airless making it one of the best places in the inner solar system for radio astronomy. The country said it "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration". The moon is a mysterious world to us.


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