China plans to land the first moon probe on the dark side of the moon in 2018, China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) announced Thursday.
China to land new probe on dark side of moon in 2018China plans to land the first moon probe on the dark side of the moon in 2018, China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) announced Thursday.
The new probe will be called the Chang’e-4 and is similar to the Chang’e-3, but carries a bigger payload, said Liu Jizhong, head of the science, technology, and defense industry administration’s lunar exploration center in an interview with Xinhua.
The craft will study geological conditions on the far side of the moon, Liu said.
The probe will provide an unprecedented platform for new scientific research, such as conducting low frequency radio astronomy observations in an environment on the far side of the moon that has been undisturbed by earth’s radio waves.
It will also help reveal the early evolution of the moon based on the special features of the most ancient rocks preserved on the moon’s far side.
China has launched a new round of work focused on lunar exploration, coming about two years after it made the first “soft landing” on the moon since 1976 with the Chang’e-3 craft and its Jade Rabbit rover.
Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon, that is never visible from earth, but so far on one has landed there.
China published photos of the Earth and moon together on Monday, taken by the orbiting service module of the country’s returned unmanned lunar orbiter.
Story compiled with from Xinhua and Reuters reports.