A Chinese Spacecraft Has Landed On The Dark Side Of The Moon

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The rover will also conduct mineral and radiation tests, the China National Space Administration has said, according to state news agency Xinhua. Although United States, Soviet Union and China itself have sent spacecraft to the near side of the moon or the side directly visible from Earth, no lander or rover has ever touched the other side.

Every semester, Purdue University lunar and planetary scientist Jay Melosh demonstrates how the far side gets light using a bright light as the sun and students playing the roles of the moon and the Earth.

In Beijing, however, the successful departure of the rover was heralded as a giant leap for China's space programme, 50 years after Neil Armstrong left his footprints on the moon.

The CNSA made the announcement after China's Chang'e-4 probe, comprised of a lander and a rover, landed on the far side of the moon earlier in the day.

A Chinese space rover explored the lunar terrain on Friday in the world's first mission on the surface of the far side of the moon.

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China's Chang'e 4 craft captured a close-up photo of the far side of the moon.

The first photos from the landing, shared by the China National Space Administration on Thursday, show the first close-ups of the far side of the moon's cratered surface.

China was the first to complete a "soft landing", without damage, on the far side of the moon. "We Chinese people have done something that the Americans have not dared try."China plans to put astronauts on a lunar base in about 10 years".

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China on December 8, 2018, and entered orbit around the Moon five days later. "China has already positioned itself at least as good as Russian Federation and the European Union".

The Chinese rover has six powered wheels, allowing it to continue to operate even if one wheel fails. It has a maximum speed of 200 metres per hour and can climb a 20-degree hill or an obstacle up to 20cm tall. The surface in the landing field is quite soft, said Shen Henong, who designed the vehicle. It is popularly called the "dark side" because it can't be seen from Earth and is relatively unknown, not because it lacks sunlight.

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