On December 7, China launched the first-ever space mission to the lunar far side — the face of the moon we can’t see from Earth.
The mission, called Chang’e-4, set down a rover and lander on the lunar surface on Wednesday night (Thursday morning in China).
The two Chinese-built robots will record unprecedented measurements of the moon’s geology and chemistry in an ancient impact crater.
The moon mission will also investigate whether the crater area could eventually house a powerful deep-space radio telescope or maybe a base.
The lander also contains a sealed box that scientists hope will grow plants and silkworms.
China just pulled off a major feat of space exploration by landing a spacecraft on the lunar far side: a face of the moon we can’t see from Earth.
Around 2:26 a.m. UTC on Thursday (Wednesday night in the US), a robotic lander and rover safely touched down on the moon’s surface, according to the China National Space Administration, which shared photos of the landing.
The Chinese moon mission is called Chang’e-4. The name “Chang’e” is that of a mythical lunar goddess, and the “4” indicates that this is the fourth robotic mission in China’s decade-long lunar space exploration program.
No country or space agency, including NASA and Russia, has ever touched the far side of the moon — until now.
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“The mission is ambitious and the science is amazing,” Tamela Maciel, an astrophysicist and communications manager at the National Space Center in Leicester, England, tweeted after the mission’s launch on December 7. “Chang’e-4 plans to explore the oldest and deepest impact basin on the moon — the South Pole-Aitken basin, which we never see from Earth since it’s on the far side.”
The Chang’e-4 mission represents the first-ever “soft landing on and inspection of” the far side of the moon, an official said in August at China’s National Defense Science and Technology Bureau in Beijing.
The rover and lander are now expected to conduct an unprecedented study of the rocks and lunar soil, or regolith, on the moon’s far side (a lunar “dark side” is something of a misnomer), while also paving the way for a lunar landing with people.
Read more: NASA’s first moon landings …read more
Source:: Business Insider