On Friday, China plans to launch a space mission to the far side of the moon — the first ever to land on the face of the moon that Earth can’t see.
Called Chang’e-4, the mission will try to gently set down a rover and lander on the lunar surface.
The two Chinese-built robots will examine the moon’s the geology and chemistry, taking unprecedented scientific measurements.
Chang’e-4 will also see if the area is appropriate to build a powerful deep-space radio telescope.
The lander contains a sealed box that will try to grow plants and worms.
China is about to make space exploration history.
Around 1:30 p.m. EST today, the country’s space agency is launching a lunar-landing mission to the moon’s far side, which is hidden from Earth’s view.
The mission seeks to gently touch the spacecraft down on the surface — a feat that no country has ever attempted.
The Chinese moon mission is called Chang’e-4. The name “Chang’e” is that of a mythical lunar goddess, and the “4” indicates that this is the fourth robotic mission in China’s decade-long lunar exploration program.
Chang’e-4 may “be the first to realize a soft landing on and inspection of” the far side of the moon, an official said in August at China’s National Defense Science and Technology Bureau in Beijing.
The mission’s rover and lander could take unprecedented measurements of the rocks and lunar soil, or regolith, on the moon’s far side (a lunar “dark side” is something of a misnomer), while also paving the way for a lunar landing with people.
Read more: NASA’s first moon landings in nearly 50 years may happen in 2019. The agency thinks these 9 companies can get it to the lunar surface.
“The mission is ambitious and the science is amazing,” Tamela Macial, an astrophysicist and communications manager at the National Space Center in Leicester, England, tweeted on Friday. “Chang’e-4 plans to explore the oldest and deepest impact basin on the moon — the South Pole-Aitken basin, which we never see from Earth since it’s on the far side.”
China is also planning to launch a crewed moon landing mission in the early 2030s. If that happens as planned, it could be the first time people set foot on the lunar surface since NASA’s Apollo program ended in 1972.
What Chang’e-4 will do — and why it could be revolutionary
Chang’e-4 …read more
Source:: Business Insider