January 19, 2019

Chinese rover powers up devices in pioneering moon mission

06 January 2019, 10:37 | Edward Lowe

While China is the first to land a spacecraft on the far side, there have been plenty of detailed photographs taken by orbiting spacecraft.

This handout picture taken by the Chang'e-4 probe and released by China National Space Administration on January 3, 2019 shows an image of the "dark side" of the moon.

"The Chang'e-4 probe, comprised of a robotic lander and a rover, touched down at the preselected landing area at 177.6 degrees east longitude and 45.5 degrees south latitude on the far side of the Moon at 10:26 a.m. Beijing Time", Chang'e-4 team members said.

New photos from China's space agency show its lunar rover leaving tracks on the far side of the moon, at the start of a historic exploration mission. "This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe". While the USA, Russia and China have all successfully landed spacecraft on the side of the moon that faces earth, China alone has just landed on the "far" or "dark" side.

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Every semester, Purdue University lunar and planetary scientist Jay Melosh demonstrates how the far side gets light using a bright light as the sun and students playing the roles of the moon and the Earth.

China's space community is taking pride in the successful landing, which posed technical challenges because the moon blocks direct communication between the spacecraft and its controllers on Earth.

Nevertheless, this is a significant step in China's bid to become a leading power in space exploration, alongside the United States and Russian Federation.

What do you think of China's plans to expand further into space exploration?

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"We are building China into a space giant", Dr. Wu said in his televised remarks.

The news cheered people on the streets of Beijing on Friday, many of whom said it showed that China can now achieve or even surpass what the United States has done.

The tasks of the Chang'e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon's terrain, landform and mineral makeup, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side. It has a maximum speed of 0.1 miles per hour and can climb a 20-degree hill or mount an obstacle up to 8 inches tall, the report said. To discuss the importance of this landing: Yang Yuguang is a professor at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation.

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