Chinese module to study moon’s far side

A Long March 3B rocket lifts off from China's Sichuan province early on Dec. 8 carrying a rover destined to land on the far side of the moon

China's Chang'e-4 lunar lander and rover mission is making its way to the Moon following launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China. The far side is believed to have a thicker crust and is pockmarked by relatively more and deeper craters than the near side.

The Chang'e 4 mission will enable scientists to discover what they haven't known about the moon.

It's expected to land in early January after 26 days of flight, said China's Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

This mission, besides being a major first for the China National Space Administration, aims to explore and study both the surface and subsurface of the lunar region.

Dark or not, exploring the far side of the moon comes with its own challenges.

In preparation for the launch, China placed a relay satellite in orbit this May to facilitate communication with the probe.




The craft, Chang'e 4, is named after the Chinese goddess of the moon; it features a lunar station and a lunar rover.

The moon rover will also be conducting a fascinating biology experiment to check whether plant seeds will develop and silkworm eggs will hatch on the low gravity environment of the moon, according to Xinhua. In this study, the instrument will examine the thickness and structure of the regolith, or lunar soil, in the region around the landing site.

Rover Utah that was part of the mission "Chang'e-3", explored the satellite in 2013.

Space programs have taken pictures of the so-called dark side of the Moon before, but we've never had a chance to get an up-close look.

Model of Chang'e moon lander.

It is among a slew of ambitious Chinese targets, which include a reusable launcher by 2021, a super-powerful rocket capable of delivering payloads heavier than those NASA and private rocket firm SpaceX can handle, a moon base, a permanently crewed space station, and a Mars rover. US President Donald Trump instructed his government previous year to put a new space station into lunar orbit.

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