January 19, 2019

China's lunar probe lands on dark side of the moon

02 January 2019, 03:37 | Edward Lowe

China’s lunar probe changes orbit to land on dark side of moon

China probe readies to land on dark side of the Moon

"8:55 30 Dec Chang'e-4, was successfully implemented exit the lunar orbit and successfully logged on to a scheduled training course for the landing on the back side of the moon", - stated in the message.

Scientists are excited about the Chinese mission as it could shed light on the far side of the moon.

Beijing did not immediately make available details on when the landing will occur, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). The far side of the moon isn't dark, we don't see it from Earth and as such the far side is much less known and studied than the side of the moon we see.

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The China National Space Administration has announced that the country's Chang'e-4 probe entered a planned orbit on Sunday in preparation for the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon. Pericenter - the closest the orbital object comes to its celestial host as it speeds past - is reported as being a mere 9 miles above the rocky surface, according to SCMP.

The tasks of the Chang'e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the Moon's terrain, landform and mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the Moon.

The launch of Chang'e 4's lander and rover marked the completion of the second phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme (CLEP), one of 16 key technologies identified by the Chinese government.

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An image of the rover for China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the Algonquin tribes in the eastern USA named the moons each month to help them keep track of the seasons and lunar months, and many colonial Americans adopted these names.

This would not only contribute to scientific research, but would also mark a major step in China's ambition to be at par with the USA and Russian Federation as space powers by 2030.

Owing to the moon being tidally locked to the Earth, we can only see one side of the moon i.e. the near side, while the dark side remains completely obscured from view. The other side, dubbed the far side or the dark side of the moon, is not actually in darkness. Its descent is reportedly being aided by a relay satellite called the Queqiao, also called Magpie Bridge. This has sparked caution especially from rival United States which has already accused China's recent endeavours of threatening peace and security in the region and ultimately aimed at inhibited space-based assets of other countries.

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