Chinese rover starts making tracks after landing on the moon

06 January, 2019, 19:17 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Chang'e 4 spacecraft lands on far side of the Moon in world first for China

The lander returned the first ever images from the surface of the far side of the morning shortly after, with images from its descent and others cameras sent to Earth via the Queqiao relay satellite.

The images were sent via the relay satellite Queqiao, created to allow radio communication between the far side of the moon and Earth without it being blocked by the near hemisphere.

Named after the Chinese Goddess of the Moon, the Chang'e 4 made its official landing at 10:26 a.m. Beijing time on Thursday near the moon's south pole, according to the China National Space Administration state-run news agency Xinhua.

The Chinese mission is the first to the far side, sometimes called the dark side because it is relatively unknown.

The historic journey of Chang'e-4 began at around 2:23 a.m., Beijing Standard Time, on December 8, 2018, when it took off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. If successful, this would be the first lunar sample return since the Soviet Luna 24 mission in 1976.

Chang'e 4 will make astronomical observations and examine the structure and mineral composition of the ground above and below the surface.

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The unmanned lunar missions are part of China's ambitions to join the United States and Russian Federation as a major space power.

"I think this is very good evidence that we are now able to compete with the Americans", said energy company employee Yao Dajun.

The United States is the only other country that has carried out moon landings.

It was not until 1959 that the Soviet Union captured the first images of the moon's mysterious and heavily cratered "dark side".

The first photos from the landing, shared by the China National Space Administration on Thursday, show the first close-ups of the far side of the moon's cratered surface. Previous missions to the earth-facing side of the lunar surface by the ESA and India have been described as "controlled crashes". There are also four global payloads jointly developed by scientists from Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and China.

"And this marks one of the milestone events of building a strong space nation", chief designer for the lunar mission, Wu Weiren, told CCTV. Radio waves can't reach around the moon from the far side without some kind of relay system, and Queqiao provides the missing link. Beijing plans to launch construction of its own manned space station next year.



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