China's Chang'e-4 touching down on far side of the moon

A simulated landing process of Chang'e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center

A simulated landing process of Chang'e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center

Every semester, Purdue University lunar and planetary scientist Jay Melosh demonstrates how the far side gets light using a bright light as the sun and students playing the roles of the moon and the Earth.

The China National Space Administration plans to launch another probe, the Chang'e-5, later in 2019.

Images the Chang'e 4 has sent back show parts of the moon that are generally unseen in detail. although, this is obviously assuming any of the reported moon landings actually happened.

Chang'e 4 and its three predecessors were named after a Chinese goddess, who legend says has lived on the moon for thousands of years.

The landing confirmed China's military-run space programme as a leading power as competition builds to explore the moon after a decades-long lull.

In year-end wrap-ups, Chinese media and officials hailed the December 8 launch of Chang'e 4 as one of the nation's major achievements in 2018.

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The Chang'e 4 spacecraft touched down at 10:26am local time, the official China Central Television said. "There's no doubt that our nation will go farther and farther". This echoes the Soviet approach during the space race in the 1960s, when many of their spaceflight activities took place covertly, while NASA had its successes and failures covered in real time. The United States is the only country that has successfully sent a person to the moon.

A Chinese spacecraft on Thursday, Jan. 3, made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, state media said.

Chang'e-4 is an un-crewed vehicle that includes a lander and a rover.

Thursday's successful touchdown in the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin, the biggest known impact structure in the solar system, was hailed a major technical feat and is seen as a important step towards China's wider ambitions in space.

The moon orbits Earth at the same speed at which it rotates around its axis. Knowing the age and chemical composition of this crash zone would help understand Earth's ancient history better, said Purdue's Melosh. Chang'e-4 will examine this mysterious area of the Moon. Previous landings on the Earth-facing side of the moon have been landed remotely from mission control. The country's rover will study a basin more than 1,550 miles in diameter called the Von Kármán crater, and it'll carry a spectrometer that will enable it to perform low-frequency radio astronomy observations, as the moon blocks it from radio noise coming from Earth, according to the BBC.

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