China's Lunar Landing May Mean Potatoes And Flowers Grow On The Moon

Mindy Sparks
January 6, 2019

China has landed a lunar probe on the far side of the moon.

It is the first time a soft landing has been performed on the Moon's far side - also known as the dark side because it faces away from earth and remains comparatively unknown - due to challenges relaying signals.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a tweet: "Congratulations to China's Chang'e-4 team for what appears to be a successful landing on the far side of the Moon". The "Chang'e 4" spacecraft touched down on the far-side lunar surface at 10:26 AM Beijing time Wednesday Jan. 2, 2019, morning. This latest Chang'e-4 mission, writes Xinhua, intends to "provide firsthand data and clues for the evolution of the moon, earth and solar system".

Previous moon landings, including America's six manned missions from 1969 to 1972, have been on the near side of the moon, which faces Earth.

The landing confirmed China's military-run space programme as a leading power as competition builds to explore the moon after a decades-long lull.

Macau University of Science and Technology professor Zhu Menghua called the landing "absolutely perfect" and a "big milestone" for China's space exploration because of the technical difficulties of landing in an uncharted territory. Previously, the United States and the former Soviet Union were the only countries that had managed Moon landings.

The mission of Chang'e-4 was launched into space aboard the rocket "long March 3B" 8 December.

The plucky probe sent back the first image from this uncharted territory via the relay satellite Queqiao (Magpie Bridge).

Adding to the complexity of the mission, radio waves transmitted from the "dark" or far side of the moon do not reach earth.

"There are two weeks of daylight and two weeks of night on every spot on the lunar surface", Charlie Duke, the Lunar Module pilot on the Apollo 16 mission, told

One of several lunar experiments as photographed from Chang'e-4. And folks, it looks exactly like the near side of the moon. The United States is the only other country that has carried out moon landings. Its space program suffered a rare setback a year ago with the failed launch of its Long March 5 rocket.

The separation of the rover - which is named after the moon goddess' pet white rabbit - went smoothly, said Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar project. "And we're gradually realizing it".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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