China's Probe Prepares to Land on Dark Side of Moon: CNSA

James Marshall
December 1, 2019

The far side of the moon isn't dark, we don't see it from Earth and as such the far side is much less known and studied than the side of the moon we see.

This photo combination by NASA shows the near (left) and far side of the moon.

China's lunar probe, Chang'e-4, is set to explore the moon's mysterious far side.

The reason the landing on the far side of the moon is so hard is that direct communication between the rover and Earth will be blocked. The Chang'e-4 first entered a lunar orbit on December 12.

The Chang'e-4 probe, including a lander and a rover, was launched by a Long March-3B carrier rocket on December 8 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The space control centre will select a "proper time" to land the probe on the far side of the moon, Xinhua reported.

As the South China Morning Post reports, Chinese scientists are anticipating the landing of the Chang'e 4 sometime between January 1st and 3rd, and the mission has been a long time in the making. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon, but none has landed on it. With direct communications with the spacecraft impossible, China is using a relay satellite to send communications to Earth. As China prepares for the touchdown, Chang'e 4's engineers have been busy testing various systems, including the communications link that will play a vital role in ensuring that the mission is a success.

Once it reaches the moon's far side, it will engage in low-frequency radio astronomical observation, conduct surveys of landforms, detect mineral composition, and measure neutron radiation.

Chang'e-4 mission has four scientific payloads developed by scientists from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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