Creating a milestone for space exploration, China’s Chang’e 4 for the first time touch the far side of the Moon on Thursday at 10:26 am. This will explore giant crater, possibly offering more clues as to moon’s formation.
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is preparing to land the robotic spacecraft in the South Pole-Aitken basin, which is over 2,500km in diameter, the largest, oldest and deepest crater on the moon’s surface.
The instruments aboard the lander and the rover include cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers to help identify the composition of the area, which was formed by a meteorite. Scientists hope the rocks and dirt in the area will add to the understanding of the moon’s geology.
The Chang’e-4 mission is part of a larger Chinese programme of lunar exploration, with two return missions planned to deliver lunar rock and soil to Earth for research. China Daily’s tweet, ‘“China’s Chang’e 4 landed on the moon’s far side, inaugurating a new chapter in mankind’s lunar exploration history.”
The lander will also conduct a biology experiment to see if plant seeds will germinate and silkworm eggs will hatch in the moon’s low gravity
The venture is an important step in China’s ambitions to overtake the US and Russia as a world leader in space exploration, which include plans to put a person on the Moon and sending a mission to Mars by 2025.
Scientists also believe the far side of the Moon is a good place to perform radio astronomy. The Chang’e-4’s spacecraft is carrying an instrument that will test the “electromagnetic cleanliness” of the location to assess the possibility of eventually placing a telescope there.
Malcolm Davis, senior analyst in defence strategy and capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said , “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for the space program in China. There’s a lot of nationalism in China, they see China’s role in space as a key part of their rise.”