Chinese Spacecraft Lands for the First Time on the “Dark Side” of the Moon
China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft made the first ever successful landing on the far side of the moon on Thursday morning. As china has been looking forward to push its space programme, the country has become first in the history to touch the lunar surface, which hasn’t been witnessed by anyone on Earth.
“China’s Chang’e-4 probe softlands on Moon’s far side,” the state news agency Xinhua tweeted on Thursday.
The Chinese explorer broadcasted a photo of the “dark side” of the moon to the Queqiao satellite – launched in May, to provide communications support between Earth and Chang’e 4 – after landing at 10:26 am, Beijing time, as reported by the official China Central Television.
The mission was launched early December. The spacecraft took three days to travel to the moon and spent the last few days in the orbit, while preparing for a touchdown at the Von Karman crater – a relatively flat spot on the far side of the moon.
The far side of the moon is never visible from Earth, as the moon is tidally locked to Earth while rotating at the same pace as it orbits the planet. Many spacecrafts have seen and mapped the “dark side”, but none landed on the lunar surface.
Chang’e-4 spacecraft, which included a lander and a rover, went on a mission to survey the moon’s territory, observer the surface, check the landform and mineral composition, and also measure the neutron radiation and neutral atoms so as to perform a vast research on the moon’s far side.
China is in a race to compete with the United States and Russia to grab the title of major space power by the end of 2030. The country also plans to build its own manned space station soon.
Another space programme on China’s list is of collecting samples from the moon. It will be sending its Chang’e 5 to examine the moon and bring samples, next year.
According to the ancient tale, Chang’e was the Chinese goddess of the moon, who died after taking an elixir. Her final resting place was the moon.
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