Chinese Spacecraft Launches On Mission To The Far Side Of The Moon

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 8, 2018

In addition to studying Von Karman Crater's surface with spectrometers and ground-penetrating radar, Chang'e-4 will measure the solar wind, make low-frequency radio astronomy observations and monitor cosmic rays from a side of the moon that doesn't experience earthly interference.

Chang'e 4 follows a series of Chinese lunar missions, including two orbiters and a lander.

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe mission blasted off on a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The mission will also characterise the "radio environment" on the far side, a test created to lay the groundwork for the creation of future radio astronomy telescopes on the far side, which is shielded from the radio noise of Earth. The Moon's far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown, with a different composition from sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

Because the Moon is tidally locked with Earth - its day is the same length as its orbit - there's a far side that never faces towards us.

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".

Futurism has previously reported on the Chang'e 4 lunar lander, which is scheduled to land near the Moon's southern pole in a giant plain called the Von Kármán crater.

Because the landers on the far side have no line of sight with our planet, they must send data back via a relay satellite named Queqiao, launched by China in May this year.

Ten experiments - six from China and four from overseas - include planting potatoes and other seeds.

Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022, and of eventually sending humans to the moon. "We will use a tube to direct the natural light on the surface of Moon into the tin to make the plants grow".

During the lunar night - which lasts 14 earth days - temperatures will drop as low as minus 173 degrees Celsius (minus 279 Fahrenheit).

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

China has promoted worldwide cooperation in its lunar exploration program, with four scientific payloads of the Chang'e-4 mission developed by scientists from Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

China plans to launch Chang'e 5 next year, a mission to return samples from the Moon.

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.

The project, he said in an interview with local website Netease, "greatly inspires everyone´s national pride and self-confidence".

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