China lands world’s first probe on far side of moon

This is what the dark side of the moon looks like from ground level. Image credits China Global Television Network

This is what the dark side of the moon looks like from ground level. Image credits China Global Television Network

A simulated landing process of Chang'e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 3, 2019.

The pioneering achievement is another demonstration of China's ambitions to be a space power.

A Chinese spacecraft on Thursday made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, state media said.

China's Chang'e 4 spacecraft has touched down on the Moon, state media reports, making it the first-ever probe to set down on the far side of Earth's natural satellite.

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

Landing on the "dark side" of the moon isn't just about exploration, but also about the potential resources that may support life as Earth's resources deplete.

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

The Chinese Space Agency also will attempt to grow flora and fauna on the moon's surface, using live species of cotton, rapeseed, potato, fruit fly, yeast and the flowering plant arabidopsis.

The lander is created to deploy a rover, following the model set five years ago by China's first robotic lunar landing mission, Chang'e-3. Additionally, the data collected by Chang'e-4 and the Yutu II rover will inform China's lunar exploration program, which seeks to send taikonauts to the lunar surface by around 2030.

The near and far side of the moon. Credits NASA
The near and far side of the moon. Credits NASA

China's Chang'e-4 combination lander and rover was sent into space in early December, and followed a slow but energy-efficient route from Earth to the moon over the course of multiple orbits.

In addition, this part of the Moon is not visible from Earth due to a phenomenon known as tidal locking.

The near (left) and far (right) side of the moon.

China became the third country in the world to "soft-land" - land without damage - on the moon in 2013.

The landing "lifted the mysterious veil" from the far side of the moon and "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration", the broadcaster said.

This photo provided on January 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency shows an image taken by China's Chang'e-4 probe during its landing process.

Chang'e 3: First unmanned Moon landing of the Chang'e effort.

With no direct way to communicate with the spacecraft from the moon, China put a relay satellite in orbit around the moon in May. According to the state news source Xinhua, the Chang'e-4 successfully landed on the Von Karman crater. Chang'e 4 will study its terrain.

Praise: The successful landing was confirmed by state television station CGTN, which tweeted out the first historic picture.

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