Chinese spacecraft makes first landing on moon's far side

Chinese spacecraft makes first landing on moon's far side

While the Moon is relatively a stone's throw away from Earth (just 384,400km away), the far side has remained unexplored.

China has said it wants to become a leading power in space exploration alongside Russian Federation and the US.

Chang'e-4, whose name comes a mythological goddess who lives on the moon with her pet rabbit, represents another step forward for the CNSA's ambitions.

The moon is "tidally locked" to Earth in its rotation so the same side is always facing Earth. The probe reached the final orbit around the moon after 22 days and transmitted the first-ever "close range" image of the dark side of the moon.

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

China also has ambitions to have a manned space station by 2022.

In 2013, Chang'e 3 was the first spacecraft to land on the Moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976.

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According to South China Morning Post, Chang'e 4 lunar spacecraft - launched on December 8 - made a landing at 1026hrs Hong Kong time (0756hrs IST). China launched a radio-relay satellite to orbit the moon prior to Chang'e 4's mission to enable the spacecraft to communicate with the earth.

Getting to the far side poses engineering challenges, a fact that kept all 27 previous landings on the near side. The United States first landed a man on the moon in 1969. Orbiting the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrangian point, Queqiao is in a position to relay data to and from the lander.

"So when what we call mining in space, resource utilisation in space - whether by the moon, Mars or asteroids - becomes more and more of a reality, what we'll see is a bigger and bigger issue". The mission harbored some risk, because operators on Earth can not directly communicate with spacecraft on the moon's far side. China also wants to strengthen its position as a regional and worldwide power.

"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 Space.com.

A Chinese space probe has become the first to successfully touch down on the far side of the moon today. The other side, most of which is never visible from Earth, is the far side of the moon.

The rover will also conduct mineral and radiation tests, the China National Space Administration has said. That was China's first moon landing and the beginning of its second mission phase.

"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".

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