China prepares mission to land spacecraft on moon’s far side

XICHANG Dec. 8 2018 - China launches Chang

XICHANG Dec. 8 2018 - China launches Chang

Because of a phenomenon called "tidal locking", we see only one "face" of the Moon from Earth.

The tasks of the Chang'e-4 probe include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon, Xinhua quoted the China National Space Administration as saying.

It's official. At 2:23 am in southern China, a rocket carrying unique payload successfully launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The mission will also characterise the "radio environment" on the far side, a test created to lay the groundwork for the creation of future radio astronomy telescopes on the far side, which is shielded from the radio noise of Earth. Chang'e 4 is the next in the line of China's Chang'e missions, and would be the first craft to land on the Moon's far side.

While the terrain on the near side of the moon has many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is rugged and mountainous.

It was not until 1959 that the Soviet Union captured the first images of the heavily cratered surface, uncloaking some of the mystery of the moon´s "dark side".

Chang'e-4's flight plan calls for the probe to trace a looping series of orbits for 26 days or so, eventually putting it into position for a landing in Von Karman Crater, part of the South Pole-Aitken Basin. The first and second Chang'e missions were created to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations.

Ten experiments - six from China and four from overseas - include planting potatoes and other seeds.

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#BREAKING: China launches Chang'e-4 lunar probe in the early hours of Saturday.

The experiments also involve planting potato and other seeds, according to Chinese media reports.

China, which is investing billions in its military-run space programme, hopes to have a crewed space station by 2022. "We will use a tube to direct the natural light on the surface of Moon into the tin to make the plants grow". During the lunar day, also lasting 14 earth days, temperatures soar as high as 127 C (261 F).

Instruments must withstand those fluctuations and generate enough energy to sustain it during the long night. Its success provided a major boost to China´s space programme.

Chang'e-5 and 6 are sample return missions, delivering lunar rock and soil to laboratories on Earth. China has promoted global cooperation in its lunar exploration program, with four scientific payloads in the Chang'e-4 mission developed by scientists from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

The mission also demonstrates China's growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russian Federation, the European Union and the U.S.

The project, he said in an interview with local website Netease, "greatly inspires everyone´s national pride and self-confidence".

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