Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Chinese spacecraft makes first landing on Moon's far side

Chinese spacecraft makes first landing on Moon's far side

China became the first nation to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, the country's state-run media announced Thursday, a milestone that solidifies Beijing's ambitions to become a world leader in space exploration. But the symbolic pull of the mission will resonate more with the masses: The list of unexplored locales in our solar system just got a little shorter. On Dec. 31, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft entered orbit around the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, and the New Horizons probe zoomed past the distant object Ultima Thule just after midnight on January 1.

A Chinese space probe has become the first to successfully touch down on the far side of the moon today.

Administrator of the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jim Bridenstine lauded the achievement, calling it "a first for humanity". Due to the fact that the Moon's period of rotation around Earth and its rotation about its axis are identical, only one hemisphere of the Moon can be observed from Earth at any point.

Chang'e 1: China's first lunar mission launched in 2007.

In May, a relay satellite "Queqiao, ' or 'Magpie Bridge", named after an ancient Chinese folk tale, was launched to provide communications support between Chang'e 4 and Earth.

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The Chinese authorities are hoping for a more useful visit to our natural satellite, using the experience gained from the 2014 Chang'e 3 lander and its Jade Rabbit rover.

Assuming all is well the lander and rover will examine the walls and floor of the crater, using twin cameras, a spectrograph and ground-penetrating radar. These would in turn produce carbon dioxide, helping the plants grow as a food source. For example, dark volcanic plains called "maria" cover much of the near side but are almost absent on the far side.

The probe reportedly landed in the South Pole-Aitken basin, the oldest, largest, and deepest crater on the Moon's surface.

One of those experiments is a biosphere project, which includes silkworm eggs, thale cress and potato seeds.

Yutu also conquered those challenges and, after initial setbacks, ultimately surveyed the moon's surface for 31 months. China Daily's tweet had said, '"China's Chang'e 4 landed on the moon's far side, inaugurating a new chapter in mankind's lunar exploration history".

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