TechnologyChina begins first surface exploration of moon's far side

12:31  04 january  2019
12:31  04 january  2019 Source:   msn.com

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

China Lunar Probe Will Be First to Explore Far Side of the Moon China’s ambitious space program is going where no other program has gone before: the far side of the moon. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); 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.

The far side of the Moon is the hemisphere of the Moon that always faces away from Earth. The far side ' s terrain is rugged with a multitude of impact craters and relatively few flat lunar maria.

The physical exploration of the Moon began when Luna 2, a space probe launched by the Soviet Union, made an impact on the surface of the Moon on September 14, 1959.

BEIJING — A Chinese lunar rover began exploring the terrain Friday in the world's first mission on the surface of the far side of the moon.

Jade Rabbit 2 drove off a ramp and onto the soft, snow-like surface after a Chinese spacecraft made the first-ever soft landing Thursday on the moon's far side. A photo posted online by China's space agency showed tracks left by the rover as it headed away from the spacecraft.

"It's a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation," Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Lunar Exploration Project, told state broadcaster CCTV, in a twist of U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous comment when he became the first human to walk on the moon in 1969. "This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe."

In space first, China launches lunar rover to far side of the moon

In space first, China launches lunar rover to far side of the moon China is poised to become the first country in the world to explore the far side of the moon with the launch of a lunar rover Saturday, another step closer to its goal of becoming a space superpower. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The Chang'e 4 lunar mission lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan province during the early morning hours, confirmed by Twitter account of the country's state media.

BEIJING — China reached a milestone in space exploration on Thursday, landing a vehicle on the far side of the moon for the first time in history, the country’ s space agency announced. The landing of the probe, called Chang’e-4 after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology

China Daily’s tweet said: '“ China ’s Chang’e 4 landed on the moon ’ s far side , inaugurating a new chapter in mankind’s lunar exploration history.” One technological hurdle in targeting the side of the moon that constantly faces away from Earth is that direct communication with the spacecraft is not

Previous moon landings, including America's six manned missions from 1969 to 1972, have been on the near side of the moon, which faces Earth. The far side has been observed many times from lunar orbits, but never explored on the surface.

China begins first surface exploration of moon's far side© The Associated Press In this photo provided on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency, Yutu-2, China's lunar rover, leaves wheel marks after leaving the lander that touched down on the surface of the far side of the moon. A Chinese spacecraft on Thursday, Jan. 3, made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, state media said. The lunar explorer Chang'e 4 touched down at 10:26 a.m., China Central Television said in a brief announcement at the top of its noon news broadcast. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)

China's space community is taking pride in the successful landing, which posed technical challenges because the moon blocks direct communication between the spacecraft and its controllers on Earth. China has been trying to catch up with the United States and other nations in space exploration.

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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 "There has been no surface exploration of the far side ," he told AFP Friday. It is "very different to the near side because of the biggest hole in the solar

The moon is "tidally locked" to Earth in its rotation so the same side is always facing Earth. Chang'e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from No lander or rover has ever previously touched the surface there, and it is no easy technological feat— China has been preparing for this moment for

"The landing on the far side shows China's technology is powerful," said He Qisong, a space expert at the East China University of Science and Law in Shanghai.

While China's space program still lags America's, He said "China has already positioned itself at least as good as Russia and the European Union."

The news cheered people on the streets of Beijing, many of whom said it showed that China can now achieve or even surpass what the United States has done.

"I think it has huge groundbreaking significance for our country, in the space industry and related industries, as well as research and possible exploration of the moon in the future," businessman Zheng Xu said.

The Chinese rover has six powered wheels, allowing it to continue to operate even if one wheel fails. It has a maximum speed of 200 meters (220 yards) per hour and can climb a 20-degree hill or an obstacle up to 20 centimeters (8 inches) tall.

"The surface is soft and it is similar to that when you are walking on the snow," rover designer Shen Zhenrong of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said on CCTV.

Exploring the cosmos from the far side of the moon could eventually help scientists learn more about the early days of the solar system and even the birth of the universe's first stars. The far side is popularly called the "dark side" because it can't be seen from Earth and is relatively unknown, not because it lacks sunlight.


Associated Press researchers Yu Bing, Shanshan Wang and Fu Ting contributed to this story.

China plans another moon mission this year, eyes Mars in 2020.
China is pushing ahead with its ambitions to become a space power.

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