China

China launches pioneering mission to far side of moon


China launched a ground-breaking mission Saturday to soft-land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and U.S.(Photo: Anonymous / AP)


Beijing – China launched a ground-breaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S.


A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.


It will also perform radio-astronomical studies that, because the far side always faces away from Earth, will be “free from interference from our planet’s ionosphere, human-made radio frequencies and auroral radiation noise,” space industry expert Leonard David wrote on the website Space.com.


To facilitate communication between controllers on Earth and the Chang’e 4 mission, China in May launched a relay satellite named Queqiao, or “Magpie Bridge,” after an ancient Chinese folk tale.


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