For the first time in history, China landed a spacecraft on the moon’s far side.
The Chang’e-4 mission safely placed a rover and lander on the lunar surface Wednesday night (early Thursday morning in China).
Specifically, the moon mission landed inside a crater that’s located within a large, ancient collision site called the South Pole-Aitken Basin.
A graphical map shows the exact spot where China landed its unprecedented mission.
For the first time in history, China landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon — the part we never see from Earth.
The Chinese moon mission is called Chang’e-4, and it set down a robotic lander and rover at 2:26 a.m. UTC on Thursday (Wednesday night in the US), according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
“Chang’e” is the name of a mythical lunar goddess, and the numeral “4” signifies the fourth robotic mission in China’s ambitious quest to explore the moon. No other nation — the US and Russia included — has ever touched the far side of the moon.
The CNSA shared photos of the landing through state media, and the latest picture (above) shows the Yutu-2 or “Jade Rabbit” rover rolling off the landing spacecraft and onto the moon’s unexplored far side.
The agency has been less forthcoming about other details of its mission, but lunar researchers have been analyzing data to help confirm there was a landing and also track the rover’s precise location.
Read more: NASA’s first moon landings in nearly 50 years may happen in 2019. The agency thinks these 9 companies can get it to the lunar surface.
Noah Petro, a planetary geologist, told Business Insider that he used images distributed by China on social media to pinpoint the landing site.
“Looks like Change-4 landed near 45.47084 South, 177.60563 East,” Petro, who is a project scientist on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, tweeted on Thursday.
Where the Chang’e-4 mission touched down on the moon
As the graphic below shows, those coordinates place Chang’e-4 within two impact sites that are very important to geologists and planetary scientists. The larger of the two is the South Pole-Aitken Basin. Within that expansive site, Chang’e-4 landed inside Von Kármán Crater.
The South Pole-Aitken Basin is a 1,550-mile-wide scar left by a horrendous collision that occurred about 3.9 billion years …read more
Source:: Business Insider