China's Lunar Rover Lands On Far Side Of Moon: State Media

Mindy Sparks
January 3, 2019

China's Chang'e-4 probe touched down on the far side of the moon Thursday, becoming the first spacecraft soft-landing on the moon's uncharted side never visible from Earth.

Chang'e 1: China's first lunar mission launched in 2007.

The lunar explorer Chang'e 4 touched down on Thursday morning Beijing time (just before 2.30am GMT), the official China Central Television said.

Success of the Chang'e 4 mission would mark the completion of the second phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme (CLEP), one of 16 key technologies identified by the Chinese government. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon but none have landed on it.

One of those experiments is a biosphere project, which includes silkworm eggs, thale cress and potato seeds.

The probe landed at 10:26am Beijing time and relayed a photo of the "dark side" of the moon to the Queqiao satellite, which will relay communications between controllers on Earth and the far side of the moon.

Because the far side faces away from Earth, it is also shielded from radio transmissions - making it the flawless place from which to study the universe.

Chang'e 4 was launched atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket on December 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan province. The rover will also test minerals and radiation.

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.

Chang'e 3: First unmanned Moon landing of the Chang'e effort.

The move marks a step towards China's ambition to become a leading power in space exploration alongside the U.S. and Russian Federation.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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