Chinese Rover Lands on Dark Side of the Moon, First Photos Released

Chang'e 4 spacecraft lands on far side of the Moon in world first for China

Chang'e 4 spacecraft lands on far side of the Moon in world first for China

The process was recorded by the camera on the lander and the images were sent back to the Earth via the relay satellite "Queqiao", the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced.

Chang'e 4 touched down on the moon's far surface at 10.26 Beijing time (9.26pm EST) last night, state media reports.

This is the very first time that any country has performed a soft landing or rover deployment on the far side of Earth's natural satellite, and it's a huge win for Chinese scientists who have been planning out this mission for years. Long before it made global headlines for its top-notch space endeavors, China launched early preparatory missions as early as 2007 to examine the surface on the far side of the moon and later to identify possible landing sites.

The unmanned Chinese probe is the first spacecraft to land on the moon's far side.

Xinhua, a state-run news agency, reports that the China National Space Administration's Chang'e-4 touched down on the moon's surface at 10:26 a.m., Beijing time, on January 3, 2019.

The first time we had a look at the far side of the Moon was in 1959, when it was photographed by the Soviet Luna 3 space probe.

The US is the only country that has successfully sent astronauts to the Moon, though China is considering a crewed mission too.

Chang'e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the far side.

This mission is just one part of China's growing space exploration ambitions.

The far side of the Moon is the hemisphere of the Moon that always faces away from Earth.

Chang'e-4 was launched on December 8, 2018.

Over the next few days the Chinese lunar lander will deploy an unmanned robotic surface rover similar to the U.S. Apollo program's "moon buggy" that will explore and take samples of the lunar surface.

The China National Space Administration plans to launch another probe, the Chang'e-5, later in 2019.

This southern hemisphere of the Moon features a more rugged terrain which makes landing harder. Due to the fact that the Moon's period of rotation around Earth and its rotation about its axis are identical, only one hemisphere of the Moon can be observed from Earth at any point.

Chang'e 4 could also contribute to radio astronomy.

What is the far side of the moon? The 2011 Wolf Amendment to NASA's appropriation bill effectively bars the USA space agency from collaborating with China. "And we're gradually realizing it".

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