Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Chang'e-4 Shares Pictures From Moon's Farther Side

Chang'e-4 Shares Pictures From Moon's Farther Side

The successful landing of China's Chang'e-4 probe on the far side of the moon on January 3 marked a significant step forward in the exploration of outer space and paves the way for future space missions.

China's recent space mission, the first landing of a probe on the far side of the moon, to give the country worldwide Prestige, national pride and promote the supremacy of the party a new legitimacy. Chang'e-4 can't communicate directly with mission scientists back on Earth.

Image of the Yutu-2 rover disembarking from the Chang'e-4 mission's lander.

The concept of deploying a relay satellite in the halo orbit was first put forward by USA space experts in the 1960s, but was realized by Chinese space engineers. The rover, which was seen in early photos having just taken its first strides on the Moon, is shown moving farther away from the lander's camera. The rover then began conducting scientific operations at this location, which is the first point in its planned exploration path.

Yutu-2 operates in a unusual magnetic environment courtesy of its landing site, the South Pole-Aitken basin. In recent years, China has indicated that it may be working with the European Space Agency to create this outpost, which the ESA has described as an "international Moon village" that will be the spiritual successor to the ISS.

Researchers hope that low-frequency observations of the cosmos from the far side, where radio signals from Earth are blocked by the moon, will help scientists learn more about the early days of the solar system and even the birth of the universe's first stars. Harvard University astronomer Avi Loeb observed that the relay satellite required to dispatch information by far side also pollutes the sky. The moon's dark side remains largely unexplored because its position shields it from radio frequencies, preventing direct with the Earth.

"As long as we keep it clean of radio interference, the far side of the moon is very good for radio astronomy", he said.

China is a relative newcomer to space travel compared to the United States and Russian Federation, but has been making up for lost time at a rapid rate.

NASA may have landed on the Moon decades ago, but that doesn't mean we know all that much about our nearest celestial neighbor.

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