China launches Chang'e-4 lunar probe

Mindy Sparks
December 8, 2018

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe mission - named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology - launched on a Long March 3B rocket from the southwestern Xichang launch centre at 2.23 am (1823 GMT), according to the official Xinhua news agency.

China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe was launched in the early hours of Saturday, and it is expected to make the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

The the only country to place astronauts on the Moon, having done so most recently in December 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission.

It will also perform radio-astronomical studies that, because the far side always faces away from Earth, will be "free from interference from our planet's ionosphere, human-made radio frequencies and auroral radiation noise", space industry expert Leonard David wrote on the website

Space programs have taken pictures of the so-called dark side of the Moon before, but we've never had a chance to get an up-close look.

While the terrain on the near side of the moon has many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is rugged and mountainous.

This article was originally published by Futurism.

Chinese state media said the area being targeted was the Aitken Basin in the lunar south pole region.

With its Chang'e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to ever successfully undertake a landing on the far side of the Moon.

Once on the moon's surface, the rover faces an array of extreme challenges. During the lunar day, also lasting 14 earth days, temperatures soar as high as 127 C (261 F).

Yutu conquered those challenges and, after initial setbacks, ultimately surveyed the moon's surface for 31 months.

China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, making it only the third country after Russian Federation and the do so. It is planning to launch construction of its own manned space station next year.

Advancing China's space program has been a priority of its leaders, with President Xi Jinping calling for China to establish itself as a space power.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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