China Preparing For Mission To Far Side Of The Moon

China Preparing For Mission To Far Side Of The Moon

China Preparing For Mission To Far Side Of The Moon

Called Chang'e 4, after the name of the Chinese moon goddess, the mission will launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's south-west province of Sichuan. The Chang'e-4 rover is equipped with an imaging spectrometer for analysis of the lunar soil, and a radar to look into the geological past of the far side of the Moon.

After touchdown, a rover carried by the robotic lander will begin to explore the area and collect data, taking photos and testing for radiation.

"It is highly likely that with the success of Chang'e - and the concurrent success of the human spaceflight Shenzhou program - the two programs will eventually be combined toward a Chinese human spaceflight program to the Moon", she added. One of the difficulties in exploring the far side is radio signal transmission back to earth since it is blocked by the moon and the earth's atmosphere. Von Kármán is part of the South Pole-Aitken Basin, one of the biggest impact features in the solar system; it spans a whopping 1,600 miles (2,500 km) from rim to rim.

The mission will also characterise the "radio environment" on the far side, a test created to lay the groundwork for the creation of future radio astronomy telescopes on the far side, which is shielded from the radio noise of Earth. To resolve the issue, China launched a communications satellite, Queqiao, in May. Communicating with a far-side lander or rover is hard, because the entirety of the moon's solid, rocky body would block direct signals traveling to and fro.

What would the lander and rover do?

There's been no official word on when landing on the moon will take place, but Jones reports it could be january 3.

According to Carolyn van der Bogert, a planetary geologist at Westfälische Wilhelms University in Münster, Germany, China's mission is definitely a significant and important accomplishment in lunar exploration. It will also reportedly experiment on low-gravity plant growth. This time, however, the agency said that it wants to establish permanent settlements on the lunar surface.

In anticipation of the launch, China sent their Queqiao relay satellite into space this past May. Moreover, the craters on the surface of the moon were thought to have been created during a period called Late Heavy Bombardment when a huge number of asteroids impacted the inner planets.

All of this is leading up to the Chang'e 5 sample-return mission, which could launch toward the near side as early as next year.

The overall design of the new rover is inherited from Jade Rabbit, according to the chief designer of China's lunar probe program.

And then there's the crewed side of things. The launch of a Mars rover is planned for the mid-2020s. "But first, we have to practise operating a mission from the far side first, and that's what Chang'e 4 will help us do".

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