TechnologyChina Lunar Probe Will Be First to Explore Far Side of the Moon

12:20  07 december  2018
12:20  07 december  2018 Source:   bloomberg.com

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The far side of the Moon (archaic dark side of the Moon -- with "dark" meaning "hidden" rather than unilluminated) is the hemisphere of the Moon that always faces away from Earth.

Relay station will eventually let teams on the ground talk to a lunar probe that China plans to launch this year in world- first mission.

China Lunar Probe Will Be First to Explore Far Side of the Moon© AFP/Getty Images A Long March-4C rocket lifts off from the southwestern Xichang launch centre carrying the Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite in Xichang, China's southwestern Sichuan province on May 21, 2018.

(Bloomberg) -- China’s ambitious space program is going where no other program has gone before: the far side of the moon.

The Chang’e-4 lunar probe is set to launch this month, state media has reported. If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft -- named after the mythical Moon Goddess -- will land within weeks in the moon’s Aitken Basin, where it will take images of the surface and samples of the soil.

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Beijing (CNN) China has unveiled a new lunar rover as it prepares to become the first nation in the world to explore the far side of the moon later this year. Beijing plans to launch its first Mars probe around 2020 to carry out orbital and rover exploration , followed by a second mission that would

When China 's Chang'e-4 mission reaches the lunar surface in December 2018, it will become the first mission to make a soft landing on the far side of the moon . "Chang'e 4 lunar probe will have huge improvements on its capabilities, because we have adopted new technologies and new products.

Landing in this unexplored region will enable Chang’e-4’s rover to better study the moon and space because of the lack of electromagnetic interference from Earth. The rover is equipped with a low-frequency radio spectrometer to help scientists understand “how the earliest stars were ignited and how our cosmos emerged from darkness after the Big Bang,” according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

The probe also will carry a tin filled with the seeds of potatoes and arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard, Xinhua reported. Scientists will test whether the plants can grow while on the moon.

Chang’e-4 also may carry silkworm eggs to conduct the first biological experiment. None of the government agencies involved in the space program -- including the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense; China’s National Space Administration; and China’s Lunar and Deep Space Exploration -- have published details of the Chang’e-4 launch.

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A robotic Chinese moon mission called Chang'e 4 will launch late this year to attempt the first landing on the far side of the moon in history. [ China 's Yutu Rover Moon Mission in Photos]. Also onboard Chang'e 4 is a German lunar neutron and radiation dose detector to explore the surface radiation

The moon 's far hemisphere is never directly visible from Earth and while it has been photographed, with the first images appearing in 1959, it has never been explored . China 's Chang'e-4 probe —named for the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology— will be sent to it in 2018, the official Xinhua

In May, China launched a relay satellite called Queqiao that’s now orbiting about 450,000 kilometers (280,000 miles) from Earth, where a gravitational equilibrium can be maintained so it stays on course to relay messages from the rover back to Earth.

Chang’e is a series of probes that China has launched into orbit and landed on the moon. Chang’e-3, launched in 2013, and its rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, surveyed the moon’s geology and natural resources after a soft landing.

The country also plans to launch its first Mars probe by the end of this decade, according to a white paper on China’s space activities issued in 2016. It also aims to build its own space station in 2022, Xinhua reported.

The nation wants to be one of the world’s top three aerospace powers by 2030, Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of the China National Space Administration, said last year. Its space budget is about $8 billion a year, second only to the U.S., according to the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Real Moon Rocks Go Up For Auction in New York, Expected to Fetch Nearly $1 Million

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But China is setting out to be the first , aiming to land the Chang'e-4 probe there no later than 2020 and begin exploration . This could shed clues as to the nature of the lunar surface on the side that constantly faces away from Earth. Like most satellites in the solar system, the Moon is tidally locked

Chinese lunar probe would make history as the first to land on far side of the moon . China aims to continue ramping up its space exploration efforts by landing the first lunar probe on the far side of the moon -- the hemisphere that faces away from Earth -- in 2018, the Xinhua news agency reports.

NASA is pursuing a dual path of building a lunar orbital platform and returning astronauts to the moon in the mid-2020s, with the eventual aim to send humans to Mars. The Mars InSight craft landed on the planet last month to study its interior to help answer questions about the early days of the solar system.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Dong Lyu in Beijing at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at [email protected], Lena Lee, Michael Tighe

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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