China

China's launches the first ever space rover to explore the dark side of the moon


China has launched a rover on December 8, 2018, that will land on the far side of the moon, a global first that would boost Beijing's ambitions to become a space superpower.


The successful launch marked the start of a long journey to the far side of the moon for the Chang'e-4 mission, which is expected to land around the New Year to carry out experiments and explore the untrodden terrain.


A major challenge for such a mission is communicating with the robotic lander: as the far side of the moon always points away from earth, there is no direct "line of sight" for signals.


As a solution, China in May blasted the Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite into the moon's orbit, positioning it so that it can relay data and commands between the lander and earth.


Adding to the difficulties, Chang'e-4 is being sent to the Aitken Basin in the lunar South Pole region known for its craggy and complex terrain state media has said.


They include low-frequency radio astronomical studies aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the far side mineral tests, and experiments planting a potato and other seeds.






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