China’s mission to land spacecraft on moon’s unexplored dark side

Apollo to the Moon No More Air and Space Museum Closes

The tasks of the Chang'e-4 probe include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon, Xinhua quoted the China National Space Administration as saying.

China's ambitious space program is going where no other program has gone before: the far side of the moon.

What would the lander and rover do?

The Moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side is never visible from Earth.

Called Chang'e 4, after the name of the Chinese moon goddess, the mission will launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's south-west province of Sichuan. Due to the fact that the Moon's period of rotation around Earth and its rotation about its axis are identical, only one hemisphere of the Moon can be observed from Earth at any point.

Beijing is preparing to launch the Chang'e 4 mission early Saturday to soft-land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon. Queqiao has set up shop at the Earth-moon Lagrange point 2, a gravitationally stable spot beyond the moon from which the satellite will be able to relay communications between mission control and Chang'e 4.

While details are nascent, a recent report indicated the robots would land on the floor of a particularly deep crater near the Lunar South Pole.

According to Carolyn van der Bogert, a planetary geologist at Westfälische Wilhelms University in Münster, Germany, China's mission is definitely a significant and important accomplishment in lunar exploration.

The lander-rover will also use its Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR), one of the eight scientific payloads on board that were described in the paper, to sample the lunar surface and what lies directly beneath. Since the probe and Rover on the moon back in the radio shadow on the earth, China was brought in may, a transmission satellite, to serve as a Relay Station.

The mission will also characterise the "radio environment" on the far side, a test created to lay the groundwork for the creation of future radio astronomy telescopes on the far side, which is shielded from the radio noise of Earth. Upon arrival at our rocky satellite, an accompanying lander, which doubles as a rover, will descend towards the surface.

The spacecraft carries a biological experiment as well: a small tin containing silkworm eggs and seeds of tomato and Arabidopsis plants. European scientists also helped China choose the Chang'e 4 landing site. According to the Chinese plans to land up to 2030, for the first time a Chinese on the moon. The first and second Chang'e missions were created to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations.



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