China & Far Side of the Moon
|Source: China National Space Administration|
Historic Lunar Exploration
This is a global first in space. China has blasted off a rocket, carrying a rover probe, headed for a soft landing on the far side of the moon. Other spacecraft have examined the far side of the moon from afar. But this will be the first soft landing for detailed study of the other side of the moon.
The mission - Chang 4 - is expected to land on the moon in early January. There are some big challenges. For instance, the moon blocks direct communication between the probe and Chinese researchers on earth. To get around that, China launched a satellite in May that keeps the probe in contact with the China National Space Administration.
Chang 4' rover is going to survey the lunar terrain, determine mineral composition and study the lunar environment. If the mission is a success, China plans to launch Chang 5 to collect samples of the moon's surface and bring them back to earth. For more news stories on Chinese innovation, go to my colleague Ed Kane's Amazon Author Page at amazon.com/author/ekane