China conquers far side of the moon with Chang'e-4 probe
06 Janvier, 2019, 15:44 | Auteur: Therese Cote
It landed in the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin at 177.6 degrees east longitude and 45.5 degrees south latitude. The area available for the landing is only one eighth of that for Chang'e-3, and is surrounded by mountains as high as 10 km.
"It was a great challenge with the short time, high difficulty and risks", Wu said.
The photo of the rover was sent via the Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) satellite, which was blasted into the moon's orbit in May to relay data and commands between the lander and Earth.
Onboard Chang'e-4 is an experiment never attempted before.
Landing on the far side means that the Moon will separate the spacecraft from Earth, making it impossible for the probe to communicate directly with our planet.
Camera Chang'e-4 landed on the surface of the Earth satellite on January 3 at 4:26 Kyiv time.
Rover designer Shen Zhenrong of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation told state broadcaster CCTV that the "surface is soft and it is similar to that when you are walking on the snow", according to the Associated Press. Previously, the United States and the former Soviet Union were the only countries that had managed Moon landings. The far side is pockmarked by more craters and appears nearly devoid of the seas of solidified lava, known as maria, that form the shadowy shape of a face that we see from Earth. The country aims to land a crewed flight on the moon in the coming decade.
From the far side, scientists may eventually be able to peer back to 50 million to 100 million years after the Big Bang, when the first stars were born - or even earlier, he said.
The landing appears to have been accomplished without any major issues, however, and the Chinese lander and rover will be able to begin exploring the moon's far side, an environment astronauts and spacecraft have until today only seen from afar. China builds already now an exclusive competition event to the global space station, is mainly due to the Americans, who had rejected a few years ago a participation of China.
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