"Epic!" --WATCH: China's Chang'e-4 Probe Lands on Moon's Far Side

"Epic!" --WATCH: China's Chang'e-4 Probe Lands on Moon's Far Side

China's burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone on Thursday: landing a probe on the mysterious and misnamed "dark" side of the moon.

Check out this Twitter thread from the China Global Television Network for some awesome shots taken as the Chang'e-4 lander touched down on the far side of the Moon.

The lander sent back images taken shortly after its touchdown as well as a photo of the rover slowly rolling across the dusty lunar surface.

China's Chang'e-4 combination lander and rover was sent into space in early December, and followed a slow but energy-efficient route from Earth to the moon over the course of multiple orbits.

It is also notable that China's state news service provided no live coverage of Monday night's landing attempt.

Horgan's first chance came today, when the China National Space Administration (CNSA) revealed a picture of the Moon's far side.

He added that China plans to explore Mars, Jupiter and asteroids in the future.

While all the Apollo-era moon human landings occurred on the significantly flatter near side of the moon, the far side has remained something of an unobtainable mystery. Contrary to its popular nickname, the far side of the Moon is not dark, and receives as much sunlight as its Earth-facing side. Located over on the far side, it's 1,150 miles (2,500 kilometers) in width and covers nearly one quarter of Earth's natural satellite.

But the reason we never see the far side of the moon is due to what scientists call "synchronous rotation".

While the Moon is relatively a stone's throw away from Earth (just 384,400km away), the far side has remained unexplored.

China's lunar lander is loaded with a variety of cameras and sensors, including ground-penetrating radar to peer beneath the lunar surface, reported NPR's Joe Palca while the probe was en route.

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe mission, named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, launched on a Long March 3B rocket from the southwestern Xichang launch centre.

The near (left) and far (right) side of the moon. Chang'e 4 will measure the chemical composition of rocks and send that data back to Earth.

A spokesperson from the Australian Space Agency said the agency did not have a comment on the mission except to offer China its congratulations on the success of the landing and to "wish them all the best".

China's previous moon rover Yutu also conquered those challenges, and, after initial setbacks, ultimately surveyed the moon's surface for 31 months.

"Building a space power is a dream that we persistently pursue", said Wu Weiren, the chief designer of the China Lunar Exploration Project, speaking with CCTV at the Beijing Aerospace Flight and Control Center. Haven't we already landed on the Moon?

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