Space

Chinese lander becomes first spacecraft to touch down on far side of the Moon

Chinese lander becomes first s...
Landing on this far side of the Moon isn’t as simple as the many unmanned lunar missions to go before Chang’e-4
Landing on this far side of the Moon isn’t as simple as the many unmanned lunar missions to go before Chang’e-4
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Landing on this far side of the Moon isn’t as simple as the many unmanned lunar missions to go before Chang’e-4
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Landing on this far side of the Moon isn’t as simple as the many unmanned lunar missions to go before Chang’e-4

The China National Space Administration made history today by successfully deploying its Chang'e-4 probe on the far side of the moon, a feat that has never been achieved before.

Landing on the far side of the Moon isn't as simple as the many unmanned lunar missions to go before Chang'e-4. Because this region of the Moon is obstructed from view for scientists on Earth, the complicated mission required a satellite to first be deployed beyond the Moon so it can relay the signals.

That satellite was successfully launched back in May, and has now been used to confirm the successful landing of Chang'e-4 in the Moon's South Pole-Aitken Basin, which measures around 2,500 km across and 13 km deep (1,550 and 8 mi).

The China National Space Administration confirmed that the lander touched down at 10.26 am today (Beijing time), according to a report from state broadcaster CCTV.

The rover will now get to work checking out this region for the first time in the history of space exploration. The area is thought to be home to huge amounts of ancient water ice deposits, remaining intact due to the lack of direct sunlight.

Also adding to the intrigue is the fact that the far side of the Moon is shielded from the Earth's radio waves, which makes it a good place to search for cosmic radio waves emanating from elsewhere in the universe. Beyond that, by scouring the depths of the South Pole-Aitken Basin, it is hoped Chang'e-4 can uncover some insights into the makeup of the lunar crust and mantle, and further our understanding of how the Moon came to be.

And the China National Space Administration won't be resting on its laurels following this history-making rendezvous. The successor to this intrepid spacecraft, Chang'e-5, will attempt to not only land on the Moon some time next year, but return samples of it to Earth for further study.

Source: CCTV, European Space Agency

9 comments
Daishi
China is stepping up to the plate as a major world power. People are worried about Russia but China is almost 8 times their GDP. Russia's GDP isn't much higher than Australia, Spain, and Mexico while China's GDP has quadrupled in the last 10 years alone. India has more than doubled in the last 10 years too. As the balance of power in the world shifts to Asian countries you will see more and more feats like this.
owlbeyou
There's a whole lotta changes going on, and this is a sign of things to come. The irony is that the West seems bent on not cooperating with Asia, when in reality it would benefit the whole world if everyone worked together. These are complex times that need simple solutions.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
China has a serious program for obtaining He3 from the Moon for non neutronic fusion.
Derek Howe
Good for them, Hopefully all the data they collect won't be hidden away.
Roger Duncan
Well whoopty doo! So they screwed up and landed on the wrong side of the moon and now they are going back up to bring samples back. How about they buy some samples from NASA and save the expense.
Martin Winlow
Wow... it must be tricky maintaining constant comms with the probe given that its relay satellite must be orbiting non-geo-synchronously as the moon doesn't rotate...
Rob-from-Melbourne
Ummm, the far side of the Moon is the dark side of the moon so there would not be a shadow as depicted in the 'artists impression'. Well done to China for going exploring.
nickatnoon61
Too bad the WORLD IS FLAT, and there is NO OUTER SPACE! The moon landing was a Heimywood production. So long SUCKERS!
mhenriday
A great achievement, which will become even greater if the Chang'e-5 mission, scheduled for the end of this year, can successfully retrieve 2 kg or so of rocks from the surface and return them to Earth for study....
It is pleasing to note the international cooperation, with apparatus from Sweden and Germany on the rover and the lander, respectively on this mission. Let us hope that CSNA continues this policy of seeking cooperation with all who wish to cooperate !...
Henri