China’s mission to land spacecraft on moon’s unexplored dark side

China’s mission to land spacecraft on moon’s unexplored dark side

The Chang'e 4 mission will launch toward the far side on December 7, 2018.

If successful, the mission would mark the first time humans reach the far side of the moon, which is more rugged than the near side. That's why, in addition to the instruments on the rover, the lander itself has its own scientific instruments, including a low-frequency spectrometer that could carry out pioneering low-frequency radio observations of deep space.

One reason no attempt has ever been made to visit the distant side of the moon is that the lack of a line of sight makes direct communications with a spacecraft hard.

Called Chang'e 4, after the name of the Chinese moon goddess, the mission will launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's south-west province of Sichuan.

There's been little news out of China on the mission since then and it's not clear whether the launch will be televised anywhere.

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China is poised to become the first country to explore the far side of the moon with the launch of a lunar rover Saturday, another step to its goal of becoming a space superpower. Queqiao has set up shop at the Earth-moon Lagrange point 2, a gravitationally stable spot beyond the moon from which the satellite will be able to relay communications between mission control and Chang'e 4.

Bridenstine will be joined by representatives of the companies whose projects have been selected, as well as by Thomas Zurbuchen, who leads NASA's Science Mission Directorate; astronaut Stan Love; Andrea Mosie, Apollo sample-laboratory manager; and Barbara Cohen, a scientist who works with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.

The overall design of the new rover is inherited from Jade Rabbit, according to the chief designer of China's lunar probe program. China also intends to perform Radio-astronomical studies on the far side of the moon that will be free form interference from the Earth's ionosphere, radio frequencies, and auroral radiation noise.

And in October 2014, China launched Chang'e 5T1, which sent a test capsule on an eight-day trip around the moon that ended in a parachute-aided touchdown here on Earth. Researchers will keep tabs on how these organisms live and develop on the lunar surface. This tin will contain water, a nutrient solution, air, a small camera, a data transmission system, and potato and arabidopsis seeds (arabidopsis is a small flowering plant related to mustard and cabbage).

China plans to launch a returnable spacecraft called Chang'e 5 by 2020, under the third and final phase of the plan. "But first, we have to practise operating a mission from the far side first, and that's what Chang'e 4 will help us do". Chang'e 5 will include a lunar lander and a rover that could return to the Earth after collecting samples and performing surveys on the planet's satellite, according to the CLEP.

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