Chinese spacecraft is first to land on far side of moon

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 6, 2019

Declaring that it has opened a new chapter in lunar exploration, the China National Space Administration announced late Monday night that its Chang'e-4 lander had safely set down on the far side of the Moon.

The far side of the moon is still a relative mystery and communication is hard because it always points away from Earth and this means signals can be blocked.

China's space agency has posted the first photo of its Chang'e 4 lunar rover on the far side of the moon after its groundbreaking touchdown on Thursday. At 10:26 am, January 3 Beijing time, China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft made a successful soft landing in the Von Kármán crater within the moon's South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin.

The Chang'e-4 lunar lander sits on the far side of the moon.

Horgan's first chance came today, when the China National Space Administration (CNSA) revealed a picture of the Moon's far side.

TRT World spoke to Associate Professor of Astrophysics at Keele University Jacco van Loon.

It is among a slew of ambitious Chinese targets, which include a reusable launcher by 2021, a super-powerful rocket capable of delivering payloads heavier than those NASA and private rocket firm SpaceX can handle, a moon base, a permanently crewed space station, and a Mars rover. Previously, the U.S. and the former Soviet Union were the only countries that had managed Moon landings.

The Queqiao satellite is deployed about 455,000 kilometers from Earth, where it will relay communications between ground controllers and the Chang'e-4.

The relatively unexplored far side of the moon faces away from Earth and is also known as the dark side.

The United States is so far the only country to have landed humans on the moon.

Images the Chang'e 4 has sent back show parts of the moon that are generally unseen in detail. although, this is obviously assuming any of the reported moon landings actually happened.

The spacecraft, which blasted off into the heavens on December 7, was in an elliptical orbit around the Moon, swinging within 15 kilometres (nine miles) of the lunar regolith.

"This probe can fill the gap of low-frequency observation in radio astronomy and will provide important information for studying the origin of stars and nebula evolution".

"The far side of the Moon is so meaningful". Its space program suffered a rare setback previous year with the failed launch of its Long March 5 rocket.

Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program, said Chang'e-3 landed on the Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, on the moon's near side, which is as flat as the north China plain, while the landing site of Chang'e-4 is as rugged as the high mountains and lofty hills of southwest China's Sichuan Province. "And we're gradually realizing it".

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