China claims to have landed spacecraft in unexplored side of Moon

China claims to have landed spacecraft in unexplored side of Moon

China claims to have landed spacecraft in unexplored side of Moon

The first time we had a look at the far side of the Moon was in 1959, when it was photographed by the Soviet Luna 3 space probe.

A Chinese spacecraft has become the first craft ever to land on the "far side" of the moon, according to state-run media, in a giant leap for human space exploration. Because the moon circles the earth every 27.3 days in a synchronous rotation the side of the moon where Chang'e 4 landed remains facing away from earth.

You can only see one side of the moon from Earth's surface, and things have been that way for around 4 billion years.

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

This remarkable yet uneventful landing will boost Beijing's ambitions of becoming a space superpower. So in May China put a communications relay satellite, named Queqiao, into a loop 65,000 kilometers beyond the moon at Earth-moon Lagrange Point 2, a gravitationally balanced location from which the spacecraft can exchange signals with both Earth and the moon's far side.

Chang'e-4's mission is to survey the moon's terrain, measure the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side.

The Long March 3B rocket carrying Chang-e 4 blasted off on December 8 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China.

The People's Daily tweeted that the probe sent the first close shot of the far side of the moon via the Queqiao relay satellite after landing.

Beijing is planning to send another lunar lander, Chang'e 5, next year to collect samples and bring them back to Earth.

The lander has now descended into the 13 kilometre (8.1 mile)-deep South Pole-Aitken Basin in what was described as a soft landing, and will release a 140kg rover to investigate the surface when ready.

"I imagine we will see an announcement the Chinese do intend to send Taikonauts to the moon by 2030", said Davis.

Johan Koehler, head of Solar System Science and Space Situational Awareness, Swedish National Space Agency, said the exploration of the far side of the moon was a great achievement by China. The landing was announced by state broadcaster China Central Television at the top of its noon news broadcast.

The moon is tidally locked to Earth in its rotation, so one side always faces us.

Getting to the far side poses engineering challenges, a fact that kept all 27 previous landings on the near side.

According to the CNSA, Chang'e 4 landed on lunar surface at 10:26am today. The United States is the only other country that has carried out moon landings.

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