China Plans for Lunar Probe Landing on the Moon’s Far Side
A leading engineer with China’s ambitious space program said that the nation is planning to make the first-ever attempt of landing of a lunar probe on the moon’s far side. Zou Yongliao, from the moon exploration department at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told state broadcaster CCTV that the Chang’e 4 mission is planned for some time before 2020.
The Chang’e 4 mission is planned for before 2020, Zou from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ moon exploration department, told state broadcaster CCTV in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.
Zou said the mission’s main objective would be to study geological conditions on the moon’s far side, and also known as the dark side.
Studying it could eventually lead to the placement of a radio telescope for use by astronomers, something that would help ‘fill a void’ in man’s knowledge of the universe, Zou said. Radio transmissions from earth are unable to reach the moon’s far side, making it an excellent location for sensitive instruments.
China’s next lunar mission is scheduled for 2017, when it will attempt to land an unmanned spaceship on the moon before returning to Earth with samples. If successful, China will become only the third country after the United States and Russia to have carried out such a manoeuvre.
China’s lunar exploration programme has been named Chang’e after a mythical goddess. China has already launched a pair of orbiting lunar probes, and in 2013 landed a craft on the moon with a rover on board. China has also hinted at a possible crewed mission to the moon.
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