China's Spacecraft Makes the First-Ever Landing on Moon's Dark Side

The launch of Chang'e 4 lunar probe

China Daily's tweet said: '"China's Chang'e 4 landed on the moon's far side, inaugurating a new chapter in mankind's lunar exploration history".

China's space programme is expected to make history early this morning when its Chang'e 4 lunar spacecraft touches down on the moon's far side that has never been explored.

It carries a number of high-end equipment which have been designed and manufactured to study and record the geology of Moon's far side that has so far not been explored.

The Long March 3B rocket, transporting the Chang'e-4 lunar rover, lifting off from the Xichang launch centre in December.

Soon after landing, it transmitted the first "close range" image of the moon's dark side.

Karl Bergquist, the European Space Agency's global relations administrator, is quoted by China Daily as saying that the Chang'e-4 mission is scientifically and technologically "very impressive" because "no one has ever done it, this mission will therefore advance our knowledge of the moon".

The probe, which includes a lander and a rover, touched down at a preselected landing area, the official Xinhua news agency said, after it had entered the moon's orbit in mid-December.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) landed the robotic probe, Chang'e 4 in the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest, oldest, deepest, crater on the moon's surface.

In May, a relay satellite "Queqiao", or "Magpie Bridge", named after an ancient Chinese folk tale, was launched to provide communications support between Chang-e 4 and Earth.

If the mission is successful, scientists will have the opportunity to explore Moon's environment, which will be a great leap forward not only for China, but for the whole world.

China plans to send its Chang-e 5 probe to the moon next year and have it return to Earth with samples - the first time that will have been done since 1976.

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

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