HELSINKI – China launched its Chang'e-4 Moon mission on December 7, successfully sending the lander and rover into a lunar orbit before an unprecedented attempt to land on the other side of the Moon the New Year.
The launch of the Chang & # 39; e-4 Long March 3B launcher was at 13:23 Eastern Time, December 7 (2:23 am local time, December 8) at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China.
The timing of the launch was announced only by airspace closure news, but no official live coverage was available. A group of onlookers beamed the event online from a viewing area.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), prime contractor for China's space program, officially announced the success of the launch after the trans-lunar injection, just under an hour after launch. The spaceship now enters a five-day journey to the moon before the lunar orbit.
The mission Chang & # 39; e-4 consists of a lander and a rover with a total mass of nearly four tons, which carry cameras and scientific payloads analyze the surface geology and surface of the sun and the interactions with the solar wind and carry low-frequency Radio viewing in the unique, silent environment on the other side of the moon through.
No official date has been published for the landing trial, however, CASC Shortly after the launch, the announcement announced that the landing will take place in the first days of January 201
Because the other side of the moon never faces communication with Earth The spacecraft will be hit by relay satellite # 39; Queqiao & # 39; which will be inserted in June in a halo orbit around the second Lagrange point on Earth. From this vantage point In 65,000 to 85,000 kilometers behind the moon, the Queqiao satellite will be equipped with both the Chang & e4; probe and Chinese ground stations in China, Kashi and Jiamusi, Namibia and Argentina, have a constant line of sight.
Chang's Originally, -4 was designed to support the Chang'e-3 Lander and Rover mission, which made China the third country to land softly on the lunar surface first since the Luna 24 of the Soviet Union in 1976.  payload fairing for the distant moon mission Chang & # 39; e-4. Credit: CASC "width =" 380 "height =" 253 "srcset =" https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/payload-fairing-ChangE4-CASC-380×253.jpg 380w, https: //spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/payload-fairing-ChangE4-CASC-300×200.jpg 300w, https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/payload-fairing -ChangE4-CASC-768×512.jpg 768w, https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/payload-fairing-ChangE4-CASC-1024×682.jpg 1024w, https://spacenews.com/wp -content / uploads / 2018/12 / payload-fairing-ChangE4-CASC-879×586.jpg 879w, https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/payload-fairing-ChangE4-CASC.jpg 1349w "size =" (max-width: 380px) 100vw, 380px "/>
The space probes became for a more ambitious landing reassigned on the other side of the moon, representing much greater challenges and demands, but also the promise of great scientific gains. [1 9659002] The topography of the other side is much more robust and variable than the near side, which is characterized by wide, smooth basalt seas or mares that can be seen from the ground with the naked eye. On the opposite side, there are few such maria, and the Chang's e-4 mission can provide insight into this mystery.
The destination chosen for Chang'e-4 is thus located in the relatively smooth southern part of the 186-kilometer region diameter of Kármán, although automated avoidance of danger during descent could result in the spacecraft being parked elsewhere ,
The crater is located in the South Pole Aitken Basin (SPA), a 2,500 km wide, 12 km deep ancient impact crater of intense scientific interest, which could contain exposed material from the upper mantle of the Moon.
Examination of the composition of areas of the SPA could give indications of the history of the moon and the evolution of the larger solar system.
The Der Lander is equipped with a Low Frequency Spectrometer (LFS) and the German Lunar Lander Neutrons and Dosimetry (LND) as well as a Landing Camera (LCAM) and a Terrain Camera (TCAM).
Like Chang'e-3, the Rover Auto will be a panoramic camera (PCAM) and a Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR), with which geological structures below the surface will be visible to a depth of 500 meters. A Visible and Near Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS) and an Advanced Small Neutral Analyzer (ASAN) developed by the Swedish Institute for Space Physics Kiruna will also be on board.
The Chang-based mission rover #;-3 Yutu (Jade Rabbit) was also upgraded for longer life and addressed the problem that led to Yutu immobilization on its second lunar day on Mare Imbrium.
A mini-biosphere experiment designed by 28 Chinese universities with potatoes and Arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs will also be part of the mission to test breathing and photosynthesis in the low-gravity, high-radiation environment on the lunar surface.