China's new lunar rover leaves first "footprint" on moon's far side

25 Août, 2019, 21:14 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Screengrab via Global Times  Twitter

China successfully placed a lander and rover on the far side of the moon with its Chang'e-4 lander.

"With the communication assistance of the relay satellite Queqiao (Magpie Bridge), the probe sent back the first-ever close-up photograph of the moon's far side, opening a new chapter in lunar exploration", official news agency, Xinhua said in a report. Just $5 a month. The image shows a barren, golden surface with a large recess in view.

China's growing ambitions in space go hand in hand with its more terrestrial competition with the United States.

This development in space exploration was first announced this morning by both CGTN and China Daily in celebratory tweets, both of which were deleted shortly after being published on Twitter. Thursday's landing was announced to the public by state broadcaster CCTV at the top of the noon news.

Another glimpse of the moon's far side from Chang'e-4's perspective.

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The touchdown marks the first soft landing on any part of the moon since the Soviet Luna 24 sample-return mission in 1976.

"Elsewhere, stocks in China's A-share market related to aerospace and military sectors soared Thursday morning in "...positive territory thanks to investors' confidence in the sectors, encouraged by the successful landing on the moon of China's Chang-e'4 lunar probe and the expected industrial growth in the new year". But China got around this by launching a satellite last May that acts as a relay between the lander and Earth. And here we are, in 2018, with another Chinese space mission goal achieved as per the deadline set.

Since the moon's revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, the same side always faces the Earth. It continued with a near side lander, Chang'e-3, in 2013.

The work of Chang'e 4, which is carrying a rover, includes carrying out astronomical observations and probing the structure and mineral composition of the terrain. Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia contributed payloads that will measure radiation and use low-frequency radio astronomy to listen for faint signals lingering in the cosmos since the formation of the universe's first stars, among other things. What is known about the lunar far side is that it is very different from the near side of the moon that the U.S. put men on during the Apollo era.

China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, becoming only the third country to do so after Russian Federation and the United States. It has put a pair of space stations into orbit and plans to launch a Mars rover in the mid-2020s. Its space program suffered a rare setback previous year with the failed launch of its Long March 5 rocket. Now, in 2019, China's space program has scored its own piece of lunar history, as it becomes the very first nation to land a robotic mission on the far side of the Moon.

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