China's Spacecraft Makes the First-Ever Landing on Moon's Dark Side

James Marshall
January 6, 2019

The spacecraft, the Chang'e 4, sent back its first images of an illuminated dark side of the moon at 11.40am China time (3.40 GMT) after landing down on the moon's South Pole-Aitken basin.

Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Lunar Exploration Project, told CCTV that it was "a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation".

China's burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone on Thursday: landing a probe on the mysterious and misnamed "dark" side of the moon.

Chang'e 4 touched down on the moon's far surface at 10.26 Beijing time (9.26pm EST) last night, state media reports.

The United States isn't the only country making waves in space: China's Chang'e-4 probe has successfully landed on the far side of the Moon. The landing was announced by state broadcaster China Central Television at the top of its noon news broadcast. It comprises two pieces of hardware, the main lander, and a rover and has been built initially as a backup for the 2013 Chang'e-3 mission. The far side is pockmarked by more craters and appears nearly devoid of the seas of solidified lava, known as maria, that form the shadowy shape of a face that we see from Earth.

The probe, which includes a lander and a rover, touched down at a preselected landing area after it entered the moon's orbit in mid-December, according to China's Xinhua news agency.

"There are rocks all over the far side that are four billion years old", she continued.

These analyses helped the China National Space Administration choose a number of optimal landing sites for the Chang'e-4 within the basin.

The United States is the only country to have landed humans on the moon, and Trump said in 2017 he wanted to return astronauts to the lunar surface to build a foundation for an eventual Mars mission.

As reported by the Metro, mission spokesman Yu Guobin said: "The far side of the moon is a rare quiet place that is free from interference of radio signals from Earth".

A model of the moon lander for China's Chang'e 4 lunar probe is displayed at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition or Zhuhai Airshow in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China.

This picture taken January 3, 2019, and received, January 4, from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) via CNS shows a robotic lunar rover on the far side of the moon.

The first Chang'e spacecraft was launched in 2007 to verify China's lunar probe technology, obtain lunar images and perform scientific surveys.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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