China Just Landed On The Dang Far Side Of The Moon

China just landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon: state media

On Thursday morning, a Chinese probe called the Chang'e-4 touched down on the moon's far side, making China the first to do so.

Chang'e-4, whose name comes a mythological goddess who lives on the moon with her pet rabbit, represents another step forward for the CNSA's ambitions.

However, while China has insisted its ambitions are purely peaceful, USA officials have accused it of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis.

It was not until 1959 that the Soviet Union captured the first images of the moon's mysterious and heavily cratered far side.

The probe blasted off almost a month ago on December 8, from southwest China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

China's Chang'e 4 mission could use soil tests and temperature measurements to reveal new clues to the cataclysmic collision that created the moon and uncover the origins of the water that is unexpectedly abundant in lunar soil. Chang'e 3 released the first Chinese lunar rover, Yutu, on the moon.

The landing appears to have been accomplished without any major issues, however, and the Chinese lander and rover will be able to begin exploring the moon's far side, an environment astronauts and spacecraft have until today only seen from afar.

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It communicates with Earth via the Queqiiao relay satellite, which launched in May to enable contact between ground controllers and Chang'e-4. While the Moon is relatively a stone's throw away from Earth (just 384,400km away), the far side has remained unexplored.

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb said that in the future, it may be possible to see much farther - and thus earlier - into the universe from the far side because the moon itself will block interfering radio signals from Earth.

Now it has landed, the Chang'e-4 is tasked with collecting data on the far side of the Moon, including on the structure of its surface, mantle, as well as its minerals, according to CGTN. The probe sent back world's first close shot (below) of the lunar far side.

The so-called Chang'e 4 lunar exploration mission consists of four components: the Queqiao satellite to enable communication, two microsatellites for sky observation (only one is functioning), the lander which touched down yesterday, and the rover it contains.

The China National Space Administration said the 10:26 a.m. touchdown of the Chang'e 4 craft has "opened up a new chapter in human lunar exploration".

Tidal forces on Earth slow the moon's rotation to the point where the same side always faces Earth.

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