China rover lands on dark side of the moon

China rover lands on dark side of the moon

China rover lands on dark side of the moon

Chang'e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the far side.

The spacecraft decelerated and entered the lunar orbit on 12 December, completing a vital step on its way to make the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the Moon.

"Chang'e-4 is humanity's first probe to land on and explore the far side of the moon", said the mission's chief commander He Rongwei of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the main state-owned space contractor.

The far side of the moon is relatively unexplored and communication is hard because it always points away from Earth and signals could be blocked.

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Soon after landing, it transmitted the first "close range" image of the moon's dark side.

The Chinese probe had been circling the Moon in an elliptical orbit in preparation for landing since Sunday.

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe mission - named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology - launched in December from the southwestern Xichang launch centre.

China, which is investing billions in its military-run space programme, has previously said it hopes to have a crewed space station by 2022. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon but none have landed on it.

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The China National Space Administration (CNSA) landed the robotic probe, Chang'e 4 in the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest, oldest, deepest, crater on the moon's surface.

The rover's instruments have to withstand those fluctuations and it has to generate enough energy to sustain it during the long night.

It would also like to develop a moon base through several manned missions.

China plans to send its Chang-e 5 probe to the moon next year and have it return to Earth with samples - the first time that will have been done since 1976.

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The ambitious mission also signals China's intention to become a global power in space exploration.

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