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China shares first Chang’e-4 Lunar far side images

06 January 2019

China launched a relay satellite in May so that Chang'e 4 can send back information.

The CNSA made the announcement after China's Chang'e-4 probe, comprised of a lander and a rover, landed on the far side of the moon earlier in the day. At 10:26 am, January 3 Beijing time, China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft made a successful soft landing in the Von Kármán crater within the moon's South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin.

"Chang'e-4 is humanity's first probe to land on and explore the far side of the moon", said the mission's chief commander He Rongwei of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the main state-owned space contractor.

The Long March 3B rocket carrying Chang-e 4 blasted off on December 8 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China.

Chang'e 3: First unmanned Moon landing of the Chang'e effort.

China's mission is to learn more about the little-understood region of the moon and compete with the U.S. and Russian Federation as a powerhouse of space exploration.

Onboard Chang'e-4 is an experiment never attempted before. While there have been several missions that explored the lunar surface, including the six-manned mission, the far side of the moon has been left unexplored.

Launched from Xichang in southwest China's Sichuan province on Dec 8, the spacecraft is on a mission to seek out what lies on this mysterious "dark side" of the Moon, which can not be seen from the Earth as the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth and rotates at the same rate that it orbits the Earth.

Infographic of the Chang'e-4 lunar landing mission. Potato and Arabidopsis plant seeds enclosed in a mini biosphere have been sent to the Moon to see how they breathe and use photosynthesis in these harsh surroundings.

It communicates with Earth via the Queqiiao relay satellite, which launched in May to enable contact between ground controllers and Chang'e-4. The United States is the only country that has successfully sent a person to the moon, though China is considering a crewed mission too.

China was excluded from the International Space Station largely due to concerns over its space program's connections to the military and USA legislation barring such cooperation.

China's landing was the first-ever successful "soft-landing", which means a landing without damage, on the far side of the moon.

The tasks of the Chang'e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon's terrain, landform and mineral makeup, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side. The lander has now descended into the 13 kilometre (8.1 mile)-deep South Pole-Aitken Basin in what was described as a soft landing, and will release a 140kg rover to investigate the surface when ready. 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.

China shares first Chang’e-4 Lunar far side images