China: Chinese Space Agency Lands Probe on the Moon's Far Side

James Marshall
January 7, 2019

A few hours after the landing, the craft sent back its first close shot of the far side of the lunar surface via the relay communication satellite Queqiao, according to the state-run China Global Television Network.

"This space mission shows that China has reached the advanced world-class level in deep space exploration", stated Zhu Menghua, a professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology.

A Chinese space probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon yesterday, state media said, hailing it as an historic first landing there on a mission seen as a vital step for China's space programme.

New images of the far side of the Moon captured by the landing camera on China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe have been released on Thursday, as the probe made a successful touchdown on the lunar surface.

Chang'e means Moon Goddess, a character from Chinese mythology.

The far side of the moon faces away from Earth and is relatively unexplored.

The six-wheeled spacecraft will help scientists study the Moon's mysterious "dark side", how its surface interacts with solar wind, and perhaps the process behind the formation of lunar water.

China aims to catch up with Russian Federation and the United States to become a major space power by 2030.

The Chang'e-4 probe is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, and includes low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the far side.

China launched the Chang'e-4 probe earlier this month, carried by a Long March-3B rocket.

China also shared some images of what the far side of the moon looks like taken by the Chang'e-4 probe.

Chang'e 4 is a lander-rover combination and will explore both above and below the lunar surface.

"Building a space power is a dream that we persistently pursue", said Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the China Lunar Exploration Project, speaking with CCTV at the Beijing Aerospace Flight and Control Center.

The Chang'e-4 landed in the Von Karman Crater, located in the southern hemisphere.

For now, it plans to send a Chang'e 5 probe to the Moon next year and have it return to Earth with samples.

The spacecraft is largely a clone of Chang'e-3, which landed on the moon in 2013.

China's space agency posted a photo online, showing tracks the rover left as it departed from the spacecraft. Previously, the USA and the former Soviet Union were the only countries that had managed Moon landings.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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