China’s lunar probe changes orbit to land on dark side of moon

China probe readies to land on dark side of the Moon

China’s lunar probe changes orbit to land on dark side of moon

China launched the first mission to the moon that is set to make a soft landing on the moon's far side, sometimes called the dark side.

Several months ago China launched relay satellites that will allow the Chang'e 4 to communicate with its handlers back on Earth. Whether or not this mission proves a success, Beijing plans to land astronauts on the moon by 2030. It did not say when the landing would occur. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the Moon, but none has landed on it.

The far side of the moon isn't dark, we don't see it from Earth and as such the far side is much less known and studied than the side of the moon we see.

China launched the Chang'e-4 probe earlier this month, carried by a Long March-3B rocket.

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Chang'e-4 entered the lunar orbit on December 12.

The scientific tasks of the Chang'e-4 mission include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon, according to CNSA.

Ground control have conducted a number of tests on the communication link as well as the moon rover's imaging tools and ranging detectors in preparation for landing, the China National Space Administration reportedly said.

China aims to catch up with Russian Federation and the United States to become a major space power by 2030.

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However, while China has insisted its ambitions are purely peaceful, the US Defense Department has accused it of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis.

China's space agency said its control centre in Beijing would choose a suitable time to attempt the landing, but the Smithsonian Institution, the American museums and research centres group, reported that the craft was expected to land on Von Kármán crater landing point at some point between January 1 and 3.

In response, China has launched a relay satellite dubbed Magpie Bridge, operating around 250,000 miles from earth, which will pass signals to Chang'e 4.

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