China is ready to launch the very first surface mission on the other side of the moon.
Chang'n 4 robot mission is due to launch on Friday (December 7) on a Long March 3B rocket 13:30 EST (1830 GMT; 2 December, 8:30 local time in China) ,
If all goes according to plan, the Lander-Rover duo of Chang & # 39; e 4 lands in the South Pole Aitken (SPA) Basin of the Moon Examine both the surface and the surface after a 27-day flight Underground of this region. [China’s Moon Missions Explained (Infographic)]
Both the lander and the rover were designed to back up China's successful Chang & # 3 mission, which in December 201
As a prelude to Chang # 4, China launched the relay satellite Queqiao last May. Queqiao is now at the L2 Lagrange point on Earth – a place where the spacecraft can handle communication between the ground controllers and the Landerover mission on the other side.
Many scientific equipment
It is expected that Chang & # 39; e 4 will be located in the Von Kármán Crater in the SPA Cymbal lands.
In a study published last month, Yingzhuo Jia from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues outlined the Mission's key scientific goals. (Jia is also a member of the State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, National Academy of Space Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Science.)
The mission that Jia and her team members wrote is to:
- A low-frequency radio. astronomical study on the lunar surface;
- An investigation of the flat structure on the far side of the moon within the roving area;
- Topographical and mineralogical composition studies of the far side of the moon within the patrol area of the rover.
The astronomical study is particularly fascinating. The distant side of the moon is always away from Earth, so it is free of interference from the planet's ionosphere, human radio frequencies, and Aurora's. The emission of solar radios is also blocked during the moonlit night.
"Therefore, the lunar side was widely regarded as the best place for low-frequency radionomic observation," the researchers write in a recent paper.
The article also described the eight scientific payloads the mission entailed.
The Lander of Chang # 4 wears the Landing Camera (LCAM), the Terrain Camera (TCAM), the Low Frequency Spectrometer (LFS) and the Lunar Lander Neutrons and Dosimetry (LND). The Rover also has four instruments: the Panoramic Camera (PCAM), the Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR), the Visible and Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometers (VNIS), and the Advanced Small Analyzer for Neutral Instruments (ASAN), which are manufactured by were provided Sweden.
The LFS was redeveloped for the Lander Chang # 4. The other domestic Chinese payloads are inherited from Chang'e 3.
The relay satellite Queqiao also carries an instrument called the Dutch-Chinese Low Frequency Researcher (NCLE). The NCLE and the LFS of the lander will carry out common low-frequency radio astronomical observations. [Moon Master: An Easy Quiz for Lunatics]
The LPR instrument is likely to detect subterranean structures on the robot's patrol route and the thickness and structure of the lunar regolith. The device is a nanosecond pulse radar with bistatic antennas.
It works like this: An ultrabroadband nanosecond pulse is generated by a transmitter and then sent through the transmitting antenna to the lunar surface. The echo signal of the subterranean destination is received by the receiving antenna, amplified in the receiver and then restored as a data set.
Also biological experiment
According to a message released this year in China by Xinhua Agency, Chang's 4 will also have a can of seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard is to carry with you. It can also pick up silkworm eggs.
This "Moon Minibiosphere" experiment was designed by 28 Chinese universities run by the southwestern Chinese Chongqing University. The cylindrical tin made of special aluminum alloys weighs about 6.6 lbs. (3 kilograms).
19659010] The SPA Basin is the largest and oldest impact basin of the Moon. Although the terrain is low, this region is not filled with mare basalts, as is the case with other lunar pools, according to Jia and colleagues, suggesting that it may have a particular thermal history and unique developmental traits.
The study of the materials in the region could therefore help uncover the composition of the crust and even the mantle of the moon, the researchers wrote.
China's next lunar probe, Chang'e 5, is to bring selected samples back from the Moon to Earth. It builds on a progression of Chinese lunar explorers: the Chang & # 39; e 1 and Chang & # 39; e 2 orbiters in 2007 and 2010, Chang & # 3 e in December 2013, and Chang & # 39; e5 T1, which brought a test capsule around on the Moon journey in October 2014. The capsule was safely returned to Earth eight days after taking off.
Leonard David is the author of "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet," published by National Geographic. The book is a companion to the Mars series by National Geographic Channel. David, a longtime Space.com author, has been talking about the space industry for more than five decades. Follow us @Spacedotcom Facebook or Google+. This version of the story was posted on Space.com.