China's history of lunar exploration

Китайцы отправят первый в истории аппарат на темную сторону Луны

It's Official: A Lander Is Headed to The Far Side of The Moon

Another function of the mission is to study the interaction between solar winds and the moon surface using a new rover.

Because the Moon is tidally locked with Earth-its day is the same length as its orbit-there's a far side that never faces toward us.

China on Saturday, December 8, launched the world's first probe to study the dark side of the moon.

Scientists believe the special electromagnetic environment and geological features on the far side of the moon will be suitable for low-frequency radio astronomical observation and research into lunar substances composition. The probe will also conduct mineral tests and experiments planting potato and other seeds.

On board is a lander which, if all goes smoothly, will soon make history by touching down on the far side of the Moon. The mission will include a lander along with a rover.

"The main thing about this mission is not science, this is a technology mission", he said.

What is the rover's mission?

No lander or rover has ever touched the surface of the far side of the moon, seen in this 1968. The far side is believed to have a thicker crust and is pockmarked by relatively more and deeper craters than the near side.

The other face, most of which can not be seen from earth, is called the far side or dark side, not because it's dark, but because most of it remains unknown. To get around that, China launched a relay satellite in May that will allow the probe to stay in contact with the scientists. It was back in the year 1959 when the first photo of the far side of the Moon was taken. "We will be like deaf and blind", he said, AFP reported.

The satellite has successfully entered a halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the earth-moon system, about 455,000 km from the earth. That probe, similar in design to Change-4, deployed a lunar rover (nicknamed Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit") for a months-long survey. The Von Kármán Crater is a 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) hole on the moon's surface - it is also the mission's expected landing site.

Of the $16.1 billion invested in private space companies and partnerships since 2009, China now represents three percent, with about half a billion dollars.

China is also aiming to have a fully operational permanent space station by 2022, as the future of the International Space Station remains in doubt due to uncertain funding and complicated politics.

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