Bold moon mission shows China's space ambitions

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral

China's space program has become the first to land a spacecraft on the so-called dark side of the moon.

Correction: January 3, 2019 12:00 am - A previous version of this story and a photo caption said these are the first photos ever seen of the moon's normally hidden far side. The spacecraft is the latest in a series of probes named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, Chang'e. While the far side is sometimes called the "dark" side, that's relative to our lack of knowledge about it: The phases of the moon seen from Earths still occur, in reverse, on the opposite side. Instead of finding a collection of record players spinning Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon backwards, the probe sent back a photograph of a desolate rocky surface pitted with a single crater, said to be the oldest and deepest on the moon.

The mission of Chang'e 4, which is carrying a rover, includes carrying out low-frequency radio astronomical observations and probing the structure and mineral composition of the terrain.

The probe was launched by a Long March-3B carrier rocket on December 8 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan Province. Chang'e-4 communicates with Earth via a relay satellite in orbit around the moon, something that adds another level of complexity and risk, according to Jim Head, a researcher at Brown University who worked with Chinese colleagues to analyze Chang'e-4's landing site.

It's not all that often that China breaks entirely new ground when it comes to space science but that's exactly what the country did earlier today by successfully landing its Chang'e 4 spacecraft on the Moon's surface. Since the moon's revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, the same side always faces Earth. And folks, it looks exactly like the near side of the moon.

At the weekend, Chinese state media said the probe had entered an elliptical path around the Moon, bringing the vehicles to within 15km of the lunar surface at its closest point.

"It's a very good start", said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program, in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV. "The back of the moon is also a rare quiet place that shields the radio signal interference from the Earth".

So Chang'e 4 isn't about claiming rights or territory. Exploration in this area will also provide first-hand data and clues on the evolution of the Moon, Earth and solar system.

In another global premiere, the Chinese space agency has also announced that the rover carries seeds and cocoons from which it will grow flowers, potatoes, and silkworm.

Related News:

  • Floyd Mayweather Makes Quick Work Of Hopeless Kickboxer

    Floyd Mayweather Makes Quick Work Of Hopeless Kickboxer

    Although officially retired, Mayweather has said he will continue to take part in exhibition fights, like the one in Toyoko today. The boxing legend revealed Monday he remains retired from the sport and has no intention of making a professional comeback.

    Hemsworth, Cyrus Reportedly Married

    Cyrus, 26, shared black-and-white images from the intimate ceremony, reported to have been held on Sunday, on social media. The couple first started dating when they starred opposite each other in Nicholas Sparks" 2010 drama, " The Last Song' .
    'That's how Man United are expected to play' - Shaw revels under Solskjaer

    'That's how Man United are expected to play' - Shaw revels under Solskjaer

    He always has a smile on his face and I think that can reflect down on to the team, which is a good thing. The pair made an immediate impact with a 5-1 win over Cardiff on Saturday.
  • Harry Kane scores early as Tottenham cruise past Cardiff

    Harry Kane scores early as Tottenham cruise past Cardiff

    It was beaten 5-1 at Manchester United just before Christmas and was also thrashed 5-0 by Man City at home in September. That took the Denmark global to four Premier League goals for the campaign, while he has also set up a further seven.
    Firmino Ends Arsenal Defenders' Careers Before Scoring Unreal Goal

    Firmino Ends Arsenal Defenders' Careers Before Scoring Unreal Goal

    Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah doubled the advantage before the break and Firmino completed the rout with a second half penalty. The Egyptian worldwide blasted home the resulting spot kick for 4-1 at the break.
    Chinese hackers charged with cyber espionage in US

    Chinese hackers charged with cyber espionage in US

    The US and the United Kingdom both have been accusing China of violating an agreement relating to commercial espionage. Western governments, including United States allies Britain and Australia , have accused Beijing of cyber-attacks.
  • NASA spacecraft survives flyby of most distant object ever explored

    NASA spacecraft survives flyby of most distant object ever explored

    The feat has been compared to photographing a flower by the side of the road from the window of a speeding auto at night. May says there's "nothing more exciting in the world of exploration than going to a place about which we know nothing".
    Federal government shutdown enters second week with no resolution in sight

    Federal government shutdown enters second week with no resolution in sight

    Republicans appear to be preparing the ground for Individual 1 to back down to congressional Democrats with some integrity intact. By moving to re-open the government on their terms, they are instead trying to ensure the blame stayed on Trump.
    Trump’s move to leave Syria & Afghan leaves West in a tizzy

    Trump’s move to leave Syria & Afghan leaves West in a tizzy

    The Nato allies reached an agreement in June for the YPG to leave but Turkey says its implementation has been delayed. France is a member of the worldwide coalition against IS led by the United States against jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
  • Apple cuts revenue guidance because of slow sales in China

    Apple cuts revenue guidance because of slow sales in China

    In a note to investors, Apple CEO, Tim Cook , revealed that the company was revising its estimates for end-of-year income. Apple will be keen to prove that its disappointing quarterly earnings are not part of a wider trend.
    Roger Federer set to finally get wish of playing Serena Williams

    Roger Federer set to finally get wish of playing Serena Williams

    Defending champion Switzerland will qualify for Saturday's final if it beats Greece on Thursday in Group B. The United States, which lost to Greece on Monday , can't now advance.
    Japan restarting commercial whaling, ignoring global moratorium

    Japan restarting commercial whaling, ignoring global moratorium

    Japan is to resume commercial whaling in July after withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission . It means that whales can be taken for scientific studies and the meat can later be sold for consumption.


Most liked

Netflix Warns Against People Doing 'Bird Box Challenge'
While Bird Box attracted a lot of A Quiet Place comparisons, the popular post-apocalyptic thriller also sparked a weird viral challenge.

White House chief: Trump not building a 'wall'
Trump is demanding billions for a border wall between the USA and Mexico , which Democrats have refused to provide. In television interviews on Friday, Trump aides said Democrats have refused to negotiate over the matter.

Rubio Meekly Objects To Way White House Has 'Handled' Shutdown
But Trump is now blaming House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi , the California Democrat expected to again become speaker next week. He said Pelosi will soon face a vote on becoming House Speaker and she does not want to be seen as caving to Trump's demands.

"We'll see" - Chelsea fans will be nervous after Eden Hazard's latest comments
I want to speak to him only about his position on the pitch. "The problem is only this". "It is hard for this reason but I think we can find a solution".

New Yorkers stunned by bright blue skies at night
Con Edison initially tweeted Thursday that it was working with the New York Fire Department to "respond [to] a substation fire". The fire broke out at a Con Edison plant in Queens at around 9 p.m. and was under control within the hour, police said.

Just Married! Miley Cyrus confirms wedding to Liam Hemsworth
Hemsworth previously shared a photo of their burned-down house that showed the letters "L-O-V-E" left in the ashes. Among the guests at the wedding were the couple's siblings Noah and Brandi Cyrus and Chris and Luke Hemsworth .

Markets Right Now: Stocks surge on Wall Street
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 4.84-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.80-to-1 ratio favoured advancers. The Nasdaq is already in bear market, along with the Dow Jones Transport Average.DJT and small-cap Russell 2000 index.

Are Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth married?
They both tweeted last month about surviving the southern California wildfires, which destroyed their home. She called him her " survival partner " because " that is why you pair up with someone, for survival ".

Mattis Wishes US Troops Merry Christmas, Tells Them to ‘Hold the Line’
But Trump made a decision to hasten the process, announcing Sunday on Twitter that Shanahan would replace Mattis imminently. Mattis was also unhappy with Trump's order to develop plans to pull out up to half of the 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan.

Fears of new Indonesia tsunami as Anak Krakatau volcano seethes
She said many fish storehouses were destroyed along the coast, but that houses made from stone were still standing. Food, water, blankets, and medical aid are trickling into remote areas via inland roads choked with traffic.

Syrian regime 'confronts' Israeli missiles near Damascus
Syrian air defences intercepted "hostile targets" near the capital Damascus , Syrian state media said on Tuesday. Tuesday's attack is the first since a missile assault on the southern outskirts of Damascus on November 29.

US says 8-year-old Guatemalan boy has died in custody
While in the hospital, the girl was revived after going into cardiac arrest but she died less than 24 hours later. The consul identified the father as 47-year-old Agustin Gomez, and said he remains in US Border Patrol custody.

NORAD to track Santa despite partial shutdown
Luckey takes a call while volunteering at the NORAD Tracks Santa center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. NORAD Tracks Santa is a global experience that has reached generations of families everywhere.

United States working with Turkey on 'slow, highly co-ordinated pullout' from Syria
President Trump tweeted in response on Saturday: " Brett McGurk , who I do not know, was appointed by President Obama in 2015". French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said he "deeply regretted" Trump's decision, and that "an ally must be reliable".

Irving: Celtics held 'much-needed' team meeting, admits 'selfish' play
I literally can do anything I want out there, but at the same time it's what can I do for my teammates to be more successful. I've been saying it since the beginning of the season.