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A Chinese spaceship approaches the moon on a historic mission.
The rocket, which was launched on Saturday, carries a probe that will perform the first soft landing on the other side of the moon, reports China's state. run Xinhua News Agency.
While other spacecraft have previously explored the distant side of the moon remotely, the soft landing will allow for a more detailed survey of the lunar surface. The probe is expected to start in early January.
If you're tempted to make a Pink Floyd joke, remember, "The side of the moon that we do not see from Earth will bring just as much sunlight to the side as we see Truth only the dark "The side of the moon is the side that is pointing away from the sun at all times," says NASA.
Dark or not: exploring the other On the one hand, the moon blocks the direct communication between the probe and the explorers on Earth, so to avoid this, China launched a relay satellite in May, which would allow the probe to go with it Xinhua explained the objectives of this current mission:
The scientific tasks of the Chang's mission include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain s and landforms. Determine the mineral composition and the flat surface structure of the moon and measure the neutron radiation and the neutral atoms to study the environment on the other side of the moon.
These measurements are most easily made by the moon because it acts as a huge protection against electromagnetic interference from the earth. Smithsonian Magazine reports that research will also have a biological aspect – silkworms, eggs and potato seeds are on board to conduct studies on respiration and photosynthesis.
If the mission is successful, China plans to launch a fifth Chang'e mission next year to collect samples of the lunar surface and bring it to Earth.