Chinese spacecraft makes first landing on moon's far side


In May, China sent a communications satellite to the far side of the Moon to handle communications with the Chang'e 4 lander and rover, because their location otherwise prevents any direct link-up with Earth-based controllers.

China successfully landed the Chang'e 4 spacecraft on the moon's far side - also known as the "dark side" of the moon - on Thursday, which no nation had done before.

The Jade Rabbit 2 rover drove off its lander's ramp and onto the soft, snow-like surface at 10:22 p.m. Thursday, about 12 hours after a Chinese spacecraft made the first-ever landing on the moon's far side.

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

The country is hailing the possibilities that the landing of Chang'e 4 opens up because this is the first time such a mission has reached the far side of the Moon.

Pink Floyd weren't kidding about the dark side of the moon stuff.

TRT World spoke to Associate Professor of Astrophysics at Keele University Jacco van Loon.

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

Chang'e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the far side. To solve this issue, the China launched a satellite in May 2018 which helped to relay information.

A subsequent Chang'e-5 probe mission is being planned, which will gather samples and actually return to the Earth, the first time a man-made object will be sent to the Moon and return to Earth since 1976.

"This giant leap is a decisive move for our exploration of space and the conquering of the universe", Wu Weiren said.

The probe, containing a lander and a rover, was launched on a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang in the south of the country on 8 December.

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

It was then directed to lower itself toward the Moon, being careful to identify and avoid obstacles, Chinese state media say.

"China has never said it is in a space race with the USA, and has no such intention", said Professor Wang Xiangsui, director of the Research Centre of Strategic Issues at Beihang University.

The far side of the Moon is the hemisphere of the Moon that always faces away from Earth.