The 'dark' side of the moon

07 January, 2019, 02:52 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • The 'dark' side of the moon

The rover touched down Thursday, delivered to the moon by the Chang'e 4 probe, a historical first for humankind - the far side of the moon has not previously been visited - and a major achievement for China's increasingly impressive space program.

China has released photos of its lunar rover leaving track marks on the far side of the moon after the country's historic landing.

"The other side sees the sun sometimes".

"With the communication assistance of the relay satellite Queqiao, the lander sent back the first-ever close-up photograph of the Moon's far side, opening a new chapter in lunar exploration".

"As long as we keep it clean of radio interference, the far side of the moon is very good for radio astronomy", he said.

The control center in Beijing will decide when to let the rover separate from the lander, state news agency Xinhua said.

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Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the Lunar Exploration Project, told CCTV it was "a small step for the rover, but one giant leap for the Chinese nation", according to the AP.

The pioneering landing highlights China's ambitions to rival the U.S., Russian Federation and Europe in space.

Besides its civilian ambitions, China has tested anti-satellite missiles and the U.S. Congress has banned NASA from two-way cooperation with its Chinese counterpart over security concerns.

But the private space race is also heating up, as numerous companies aim to commercialize space travel, such as California-based SpaceX, which has upended the industry with its low-priced reusable Falcon 9 rockets.

China's mission is to learn more about the little-understood region of the moon and compete with the United States and Russian Federation as a powerhouse of space exploration.

At 10:26 Beijing time (02:26 GMT), January 3, China achieved a world first when it landed its Chang'e 4 probe in the South Pole-Aitken Basin of the moon. This is a remarkable trajectory considering it was only in 2003 that China sent its first astronaut into orbit.

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