China Launches Probe To Become First Nation To Explore Dark Side Of The Moon
08 December, 2018, 07:08
Space.com reports that the Chang'e 4 spacecraft was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center atop a Long March 3B rocket at about 1:23 p.m. EST Friday.
The blast-off marked the start of a long journey to the far side of the moon for the Chang'e-4 mission, expected to land around the New Year to carry out experiments and survey the untrodden terrain.
Futurism has previously reported on the Chang'e 4 lunar lander, which is scheduled to land near the Moon's southern pole in a giant plain called the Von Kármán crater.
The previous model of the lunar rover completed a successful 972 day mission in early 2016, a mission which made China the third nation in history to successful reach the moon.
Since the Moon spins around the same center of rotation as Earth, it's always facing away from us.
The scientific tasks of the Chang'e-4 mission include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon, the China National Space Administration announced.
This article was originally published by Futurism.
As a solution, China in May blasted the Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite into the moon's orbit, positioning it so that it can relay data and commands between the lander and earth.
Ten experiments - six from China and four from overseas - include planting potatoes and other seeds.
China, which is investing billions in its military-run space programme, hopes to have a crewed space station by 2022.
Chang'e is the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology.
"The main thing about this mission is not science, this is a technology mission", he said.
China landed its Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit", rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang'e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples - the first time that will have been done since 1976.
During the lunar night - which lasts 14 earth days - temperatures will drop as low as minus 173 degrees Celsius (minus 279 Fahrenheit).
China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, making it only the third country after Russian Federation and the U.S.to do so.
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