China to land on Moon’s dark side on its historic lunar mission

Китайский космический аппарат успешно идет на посадку с обратной стороны Луны

China probe readies to land on dark side of the Moon

Because the side of the moon faces away from Earth, communications can not be direct, and all the messages to and from Chang'e 4 must be done through the Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) satellite which is on the other side of the moon in a "halo orbit". The entire event will take place from 12:55 to 5:50 p.m. ET, with the maximum eclipse occurring at 3:23 p.m., Sky & Telescope reports.

Other spacecraft have already seen the far side of the moon but no lander or rover has ever been there.

An artist's impression of the moon lander for China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe on the far side of the moon. The Chang'e-4 mission is being regarded as a seminal step for the country to propel its space programme forward, and to establish itself in the sector.

A total eclipse occurs as the Moon passes through the centre of Earth's darkest shadow - the umbra.

Tidal forces on Earth slow the moon's rotation to the point where the same side always faces Earth.

Our moon is "tidally locked" to Earth, which means that it rotates at the same rate it orbits our planet - so one side is never visible from Earth.

The Chang'e-4 has been tasked with astronomical observation, surveillance of the moon's topography, studying its mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms.

Chang'e is the goddess of the Moon in Chinese mythology.

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China aims to catch up with Russian Federation and the United States to become a major space power by 2030.

The new year will also bring three supermoons, a blue moon, multiple meteor showers, close approach by the moon and Jupiter and several rocket launches. This has sparked caution especially from rival U.S. which has already accused China's recent endeavours of threatening peace and security in the region and ultimately aimed at inhibited space-based assets of other countries. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration.

But the US Defence Department expressed concerns about China's rapidly growing space capabilities.

The launch of a Mars rover is planned for the mid-2020s.

As per China National Space Administration, it was said the ground control located in Beijing had adjusted the probe's orbit twice till now.

The spacecraft was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan on 7th December, and is expected to land on Moon's far side between 2nd and 3rd January.

In 2016 China unveiled pictures of a space probe and rover it plans to send to explore Mars.

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