Published: Fri, January 04, 2019
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

Chang’e-4 far side moon landing was successful

Chang’e-4 far side moon landing was successful

The successful landing "lifted the mysterious veil" of the far side of the moon and "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration", the agency said in a statement on its website.

The Chang'e-4 probe landed at 10.26am Beijing time and sent a photo of the far side of the moon to the Queqiao satellite, which will relay communications to controllers on Earth, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Chang'e 4 sent a picture taken at 11:40 in the morning back to Earth.

At 100m above the surface, it hovered to identify smaller obstacles and measure the slopes on the lunar surface, Mr Wu said.

Xinhua, a state-run news agency, reports that the China National Space Administration's Chang'e-4 touched down on the moon's surface at 10:26 a.m., Beijing time, on January 3, 2019.

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The name Chang'e comes from a Chinese goddess that many Chinese believe has lived on the moon for thousands of years.

"The space dream is part of the dream to make China stronger", President Xi Jinping said in 2013, shortly after becoming China's leader.

But China's aerospace industry still has a long way to go, especially compared to that of the USA, said Shen Dingli, a Shanghai-based global studies scholar.

The lunar probe was launched last December from Xichang launch center in western Sichuan province.

The former Soviet Union was the first country to launch a space probe, Luna 3, to explore the far side of the moon, in 1959. It began a gradual descent to the lunar surface in successively lower orbits around the moon in preparation for the controlled landing Wednesday. But China is considering a crewed mission, as well.

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Certainly, the Chinese are planning a follow up - Chang'e 5 - that will collect and return rock and dust samples to Earth for more comprehensive analysis. The far side of the Moon is the hemisphere of the Moon that always faces away from Earth.

Yu Guobin is a Chang'e 4 mission spokesman.

Every semester, Purdue University lunar and planetary scientist Jay Melosh demonstrates how the far side gets light using a bright light as the sun and students playing the roles of the moon and the Earth. It spent 31 months exploring the Moon, and discovered evidence of ancient lava plains beneath the satellite's crust, New Scientist reported. When Earth views a darkened new moon, the far side is lit.

A spokesperson from the Australian Space Agency said the agency did not have a comment on the mission except to offer China its congratulations on the success of the landing and to "wish them all the best". The country has hurried to catch up with the achievements of the United States and Russian Federation as its economy and technology become more advanced.

The ship was launched in early December and has been orbiting around the space mass for weeks in preparation for the "dark side" landing.

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