China's Lunar Probe Shares First Images From the 'Dark' Side of the Moon

Thursday, 03 January 2019 - 12:28PM
Moon
Thursday, 03 January 2019 - 12:28PM
China's Lunar Probe Shares First Images From the 'Dark' Side of the Moon
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China National Space Administration
Remember when we said that China's lunar probe was in position and that any day now it would land on the dark side of the moon and make history? Well it turns out that day was today, and the images taken by the spacecraft during its historic landing have been relayed via satellite back to the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and shared online for all the world to see.

Business Insider reports that Chang'e-4 performed its soft-landing around 10:26AM local time, making China the first nation to land a spacecraft on the side of the moon that we can not directly see from Earth. CNSA reports that the landing site is the Von Kármán impact crater, located in the southern hemisphere in the South Pole–Aitken basin. The images show Chang'e-4's work site, as the probe begins its mission to study the mineral composition and measure radiation in the region. "This is huge-a major first," Dean Cheng, a US-based expert on China's space program told The Wall Street Journal. "For [President] Xi Jinping and his great Chinese revival, this is a wonderful example."


China National Space Administration


China National Space Administration

In addition to being a major milestone for China, experts say that the landing is also important for the nation in its contest against the United States for space dominance. The goal for China is to have a lunar base established by 2025 and to have their own astronaut inside of it by 2030. "There are many who worry that the Chinese will put a man on the moon before we're able to do it again," Chang said. The United States is hoping to return to the big cheese in the sky by 2023, but the spacecraft for the mission is not done yet and technical issues could push that date back, giving China an even bigger head start.
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