China Says Final Preparations Underway To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before


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When it comes down to space exploration, the Chinese space agency isn’t holding back.

Image Credit: WEIBO.

Recent reports have confirmed that final preparations are underway as China gets ready to launch a historical mission that will see a rover land on the far side of the moon, for the first time in history.

China wants to land their rover on the Von Kármán crater. Image Credit: James Stuby/NASA (CC0 1.0)

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) revealed through an announcement that on December 8 the spaceship Chang’e-4 is set to lift off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. It will enter into orbit around the moon, and eventually land on the 186-kilometer-wide Von Karman crater.

Chang’e-4 includes a rover and a lander. Furthermore, a Satellite dubbed Queqiao will facilitate communications between the orbiter, the rover, and experts back home.

Communication will play a crucial part in the success of the mission.

“Since the rover will be on the far side, the Moon will block direct radio contact with Earth, so a relay satellite will be used for communications,” NASA explained

Exploring the far side of Earth’s natural satellite, a tricky thing, and so far, no other country has attempted it.

Exploring the far side of the moon could help us understand a lot about the lunar surface, the moon’s formation, its early history and other interesting details that could play an important role in future manned missions to the moon and beyond.

Speaking to Scientific American, Bo Wu, a geoinformatician at Hong Kong Polytechnic University explained: “It is a key area to answer several important questions about the early history of the Moon, including its internal structure and thermal evolution.”

“The lunar far side — that mysterious face of the Moon hidden from Earth – contains a cache of clues about how the Earth formed, how planets evolved, and how volcanic and impact cratering processes reshaped the Solar System,” NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research team stated.

“The far side of the Moon holds the key to the earliest bombardment of the Earth and whether impact cratering processes were involved in the origin and earliest evolution of life on Earth,” they explained.

The Chinese 140-kilogram-rover will also carry out the first scientific studies on this particular lunar region, in addition to carrying out the first experiments to determine if the low gravity environment is appropriate for the growth of the plants.

In this way, Chang’e-4 will become the second Chinese rover to land on the lunar surface after the Chinese Space Agency successfully landed the Chang’e-3 probe, in 2013.

According to NASA, the rover is equipped with scientific payload as well as a plethora of cameras, including the Panoramic Camera (PCAM), a Visible/Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS), Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR), and the Advanced Small Analyzer for Neutrals (ASAN)


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