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China’s secretive mission to land a probe on the dark side of the Moon



China is going to be the first nation to land on the dark side of the Moon. But Beijing is unusually secret for the event ̵

1; not even confirming its suspected launch date this weekend.

China's Chinese space administration is believed to be targeting the robotic lander of the crater Von Karaman, near the south pole of the Moon. It is considered to be the oldest impact crater of the entire Solar System, making it an ideal collection ground for water ice and a rare isotope of hydrogen carried by the solar wind.

Both have the potential to fuel future interplanetary missions.

The lander, nicknamed Chang & e-4 (Moon Goddess 4), will land inside the crater to examine its contents. Experimentally we will also experiment on the growth of low-gravity plants.

In order for the mission to be possible, a communications satellite was launched at the beginning of this year, in May, to relay its signals to Earth. Part of the mission of Chang & # 39; e-4 is to use the masking effect of the Moon mass to block the radio "noise" and listen to interstellar signals. It will test the clarity of the telescope's optics when out of reach of the Earth's ionosphere.

If launched this weekend, the Chang & e-4 will probably land on the lunar surface on December 31st.

China has focused its attention on space efforts on the moon since its space program was started in 2004. Two probes were put into lunar orbit, Chang's e-1 and 2. The lunar Changer lander # 39; e-3 was the first since 1976.

Chang & # 39; e-4 is a forerunner of another mission, Chang's e-5, which is scheduled for next year. It is designed to collect a sample of regolith (the dusty surface of the Moon) and bring it back to Earth for analysis.

This story was originally published on news.com.au.


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