China launches Chang'e-4 probe to shed light on moon's dark side

It's Official: A Lander Is Headed to The Far Side of The Moon

In May, China launched a relay satellite tasked with transmitting signals between Chang'e 4 and ground control.

China is poised to become the first country to explore the far side of the moon with the launch of a lunar rover Saturday, another step to its goal of becoming a space superpower.

The Chang'e-4 lunar probe mission blasted off on a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

China has promoted global cooperation in its lunar exploration program, with four scientific payloads of the Chang'e-4 mission developed by scientists from Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

"Mission to the dark side of the moon will be the biggest technological achievement of China".

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The probe and the lunar Rover is equipped with several cameras, radar to scan the moon's surface, a spectrometer for the determination of minerals and device for investigation of the interaction of the solar wind with the lunar surface. Here, the satellite will be able to constantly transmit communications between mission controllers on Earth and the lander-rover on the lunar surface. The lander's home base always faces away from Earth, so a detector there will not likely pick up human-made radio frequencies and "noise" from auroras on Earth which could affect data.

The 140 kg Chang'e-4 rover.

The mission will explore the composition of the Moon's largest impact crater, called the Von Kármán crater, which is 115 miles across (186 kilometres). The scientific instruments on its lander are still operating, making Chang'e-3 the longest working man-made probe on the moon.

Objective of the mission is to try to deliver samples of lunar soil to Earth. The spacecraft re-entered the earth's atmosphere at a speed of about 11.2 km per second. They also can take advantage of the far side's shield against Earth's interference to make clearer observations into deep space, scientists involved in the program noted. Its program also suffered a rare setback a year ago with the dialed launch of its Long March 5 rocket.

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