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China Preparing For Mission To Far Side Of The Moon

China Preparing For Mission To Far Side Of The Moon

China landed its Yutu, or Jade Rabbit rover, on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang'e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples - the first time that will have been done since 1976.

The landing would be the first-ever human mission to the dark side of the Moon, which has a different composition to sites on the near side where previous missions have landed, The Associated Press explained.

The far side of the Moon is not visible from Earth. Communicating with a far-side lander or rover is hard, because the entirety of the moon's solid, rocky body would block direct signals traveling to and fro. As in the case of the journey, the "Chang'e 3", the first Chinese probe that put 2013 on the moon, it'll take two weeks or a few days longer, until the "Chang'e 4" reaches the surface of the moon. 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.

An artist's illustration of China's Queqiao satellite, which launched in May of 2018 to relay data between controllers on Earth and the Chang'e 4 lander-rover pair on the moon's far side. Queqiao has set up shop at the Earth-moon Lagrange point 2, a gravitationally stable spot beyond the moon from which the satellite will be able to relay communications between mission control and Chang'e 4.

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China's National Space Administration is believed to be targeting the robotic lander at the Von Karaman crater, near the Moon's south pole.

However, on December 7, a pair of Chinese robots will embark on a 27-day-long trip to change that and analyze the region. The spacecraft will be carrying a lander and a rover, that is said to touch down the surface on the lunar surface. It includes a ground-penetrating radar to look up to 100 meters beneath the surface, three cameras, radio astronomy experiments to study the Milky Way unhindered by Earth-based interference and an intriguing experiment to grow biological samples on the lunar surface. Using a tool called a Very Low Frequency interferometer it will study the universe at extremely low wavelengths while the moon shields it from Earth's radio noise. Upon arrival at our rocky satellite, an accompanying lander, which doubles as a rover, will descend towards the surface.

The probe also will carry a tin filled with the seeds of potatoes and arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard, Xinhua reported.

China has focused its space efforts on the Moon since its space program was initiated in 2004. The first and second Chang'e missions were created to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations.


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