Chinese craft lands on dark side of the moon

15 2016 the supermoon rises over a logo for AVIC or Aviation Industry Corp a state owned enterprise involved in China's manned space mission in Beijing. China vowed Tuesday Dec 27 2016 to speed up the developme

Three nations - the United States, the former Soviet Union and more recently China - have sent spacecraft to the near side of the moon, which faces Earth, but this landing is the first-ever on the far side.

The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side - or "dark side" - is never visible to us. These analyses helped the China National Space Administration choose a number of optimal landing sites for the Chang'e-4 within the basin.

Declaring that it has opened a new chapter in lunar exploration, the China National Space Administration announced late Monday night that its Chang'e-4 lander had safely set down on the far side of the Moon.

The Chang'e-4 spacecraft scripted history on Thursday when it made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon. Chang'e is the name of a Chinese goddess who, according to legend, has lived on the moon for millennia.

Chang'e 4 could also contribute to radio astronomy.

The far side of the moon is still a relative mystery and communication is hard because it always points away from Earth and this means signals can be blocked.

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Melosh traces the myth back to a Walt Disney television special in 1955 that talked about it always being dark on the other side of the moon and futuristic astronauts dropping flares.

If the mission is successful, scientists will have the opportunity to explore Moon's environment, which will be a great leap forward not only for China, but for the whole world.

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

The spacecraft, which has a lander and a rover, was launched on top of a Long March 3B carrier rocket on December 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province. China launched a radio-relay satellite to orbit the moon prior to Chang'e 4's mission to enable the spacecraft to communicate with the earth. While there have been several missions that explored the lunar surface, including the six-manned mission, the far side of the moon has been left unexplored.

The Chang'e 4 was landed within the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin, the moon's largest, deepest, and oldest impact structure, according to Long Xiao, a planetary geoscientist at China University of Geosciences in Wuhan. Beijing plans to launch construction of its own manned space station next year.

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