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China conquers far side of the moon with Chang'e-4 probe

China conquers far side of the moon with Chang'e-4 probe

China's Chang'e 4 mission could use soil tests and temperature measurements to reveal new clues to the cataclysmic collision that created the moon and uncover the origins of the water that is unexpectedly abundant in lunar soil. The first consisted of the lunar orbiters Chang'e 1 and 2.

The Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit-2) rover drove onto the moon's surface from the lander at 10:22pm Thursday (1422 GMT), about 12 hours after the groundbreaking touchdown of the Chang'e-4 probe, the agency said.

The Chang'e series of Chinese spacecraft is named for a moon goddess, but Queqiao means "magpie bridge", from a myth about those birds forming a path to the moon.

The landing highlights China's growing ambitions as a space power.

Hou Xiyun is a professor at Nanjing University's school of astronomy and space science.

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China launched a ground-breaking mission to soft-land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russian Federation, the European Union and US. "There's no doubt that our nation will go farther and farther", he said. "The United States is the only country that has successfully sent a person to the moon, though China is considering a crewed mission too", the outlet wrote. The Chang'e-5 mission will have sample returns from the near side of the Moon. Because the moon circles the earth every 27.3 days in a synchronous rotation the side of the moon where Chang'e 4 landed remains facing away from earth. (Pink Floyd released the album "The Dark Side of the Moon" in 1973.) Also likely unhelpful is an instinctual response to counter that misconception by arguing that there is no dark side of the moon. The South Pole-Aitken Basin, which measures 2,500km in diameter and is 13km deep, is also the largest, deepest and oldest impact crater on the Moon, and may yield secrets of its evolution to the Chang'e-4.

These new images offer some new insight into the previously mysterious far side of the Moon, with the Chang'e-4 probe set to conduct a series of experiments to further explore the unknown lunar regions.

This southern hemisphere of the Moon features a more rugged terrain which makes landing harder.

The news cheered people on the streets of Beijing on Friday, many of whom said it showed that China can now achieve or even surpass what the United States has done. It plans to start operating its first space station by 2022, launch probes to Mars and send astronauts out again. Its space program suffered a rare setback past year with the failed launch of its Long March 5 rocket.