China Launches Space Mission To The Unexplored Side of The Moon

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration. 

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A moon is seen behind the construction site of China Zun in Beijing's central business area. VOA

China launched a groundbreaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S.

A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

With its Chang’e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to make a soft landing, which is a landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred. The moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

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A worker inspects a scale model of the moon rover for China’s Chang’e 4 lunar probe, at a factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China. VOA

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.

China landed its Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration.

China launched a groundbreaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S.

A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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Back side of the moon

With its Chang’e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to make a soft landing, which is a landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred. The moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

Also Read: China Starts Investigation After Scientists Claims To Edit Genes In Babies

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.

China landed its Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration. (VOA)

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