Chinese language spacecraft makes first touchdown on moon's far facet - Eire

09 January, 2019, 12:06 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Yutu-2 China's lunar rover leaves wheel marks after leaving the lander that touched down on the surface of the far side of the moon. — AP

The CNSA made the announcement after China's Chang'e-4 probe, comprised of a lander and a rover, landed on the far side of the moon earlier in the day.

Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space program.

"Congratulations to China's Chang'e-4 team for what appears to be a successful landing on the far side of the Moon", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote on Twitter.

The transfer mechanism unlocked as planned, with one side reaching the Moon's surface, allowing the rover to descend onto the surface from the slope. The country hopes to begin operating its third space station by 2022, and put astronauts on a lunar base sometime in the next decade.

Despite the name of Pink Floyd's best-selling album, the side of the moon you can't see isn't always dark.

Legend has it that Chang'e, after swallowing a magic pill, took her pet and flew toward the moon where she became a goddess and has lived with the white jade rabbit ever since.

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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 may hold clues to the moon's origins, prove rich in minerals, and possibly serve as a "future refueling base for missions deeper into space".

With no direct way to communicate with the spacecraft from the moon, China put a relay satellite in orbit around the moon in May. The rover's instruments have to withstand those fluctuations and it has to generate enough energy to sustain itself during the long night.

More than 2,000 high-ranking officials of the Chinese Communist Party have signed a petition this week asking explanations from the American government concerning the American Moon landings after doubts arose that the Apollo Moon landings ever happened. Chang'e 4 also has sent back images taken with a topographical camera.

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

If all goes well, China plans to send its Chang'e 5 probe there next year and more robotic missions including a crewed space mission in the following years.

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