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Home / Science / China launches historic mission to land on the other side of the moon – space travel now

China launches historic mission to land on the other side of the moon – space travel now



View of the other side of the moon and the distant earth taken in 2014 by the service module for the demonstration mission "Chang & # 39; e 5-T1". Photo credits: Chinese Academy of Sciences

A robotic lander and rover launched from the Xichang Space Center in China on Friday (US time), launching a journey through space ending in early January, for the first time to sit on the other side of the moon.

The Chang'e 4 Mission – the fourth in China's line of lunar explorers – launched on Friday at 1823 GMT (13:23 EST) from Xichang, an inland port embedded between the hills in southwestern China's Sichuan province. Chang'e 4 climbed into the night sky of Xichang – the departure took place at 2:23 pm in Beijing – heading east, at the head of a Long March 3B rocket.

Chinese state television did not broadcast the launch as in China's previous launch of the 2013 Moon Mission, but spectators near Xichang aired the blastoff's live video in the middle of the night with no comment online. The video showed the Long March 3B disappearing into the night sky a few minutes after a seemingly smooth departure from Xichang.

The three-stage Long March 3B rocket was programmed to spray the spacecraft Chang's 4 on a lunar orbit less than half an hour after launch.

It is expected that Chang'e 4 will enter the Moon orbit later this month, then dive to the lunar surface with rockets and aim for a landing in the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole Aitken of the Moon January.

No mission has previously explored the surface of the other side of the moon, and if successful, Chang'e 4 will be one of the earliest space explorations to reach a target that has long been in space. Do list for NASA and international space explorers.

Chang & # 39; e 4 uses replacement hardware for China's lunar lander Chang & # 39; e 3, which arrived at the Moon in December 2013 with a touchdown in the Mare Imbrium volcano on the nearby si de of the moon.

The Rover stopped driving a few weeks after landing, but some of the ship's instruments continue to work. The Chang & # 39; e-3 rover named Yutu, which is said to travel up to 10 kilometers, traveled around 114 meters before losing its mobility, according to Chinese scientists.

"There are many successful missions with successful landings on the near side of the Moon, including Chang'e 3 in Mare Imbrium," said Jun Huang of the Planetary Science Institute of the China University of Geosciences in a lecture in front of US Scientists in March at Lunar and Planetary Science conference in Texas. "This mission took almost five years, and our knowledge of the moon has improved a lot, but (until Chang & # 4) we have no mission dedicated to precision measurement on the other side of the moon."

There are some major differences between Chang # 3 and Chang # 4. For example, the lander that moves to the other side of the moon will not carry a robotic arm or an Active Particle X-ray Spectrometer, an instrument which is capable of measuring the chemical elements in lunar rocks and in the soil.

In addition to a series of cameras on both the stationary lander and the rover, the mission wants to deliver a new set of sensors to the lunar surface, some of which are provided by them European scientists.

The landing module, which will perform a rocket-propelled landing on the moon like Chang'e 3, will carry a low-frequency radio spectrometer developed by Chinese scientists for astrophysics research. A neutron and dosimetry instrument developed by Germany measures the radiation values ​​at the Chang'e 4 landing site and gathers data useful for planning lunar moon exploration, studying solar activity, and determining water content in Karman could be craters.

Chang'an 4's rover will pick up a ground penetrating radar to study geological layers buried under the landing site and a visible and near infrared spectrometer to collect soil composition data. Chinese officials agreed to the addition of a Swedish instrument to study the interaction between the solar wind and the lunar surface, which is not protected by an atmosphere from the bombardment of charged particles from the sun.

Chang'e 4 will also deliver to the Moon a student-designed carrier that includes potato seeds and silkworm eggs. University students and scientists will monitor the growth of organisms that are housed in a chamber and once fed on the lunar surface of daylight and nutrients.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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