China Begins Exploration of the Far Side of the Moon

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On Wednesday night (Jan. 2), the Chang'e 4 rover and its stationary-lander companion pulled off the first-ever soft touchdown on the lunar far side, coming to a rest inside the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater.

The head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, Thursday congratulated the Chinese colleagues on the successful landing of the Chang'e-4 probe. For one thing, China's effort was the world's first mission to the surface of the moon's far side (which, as it turns out, isn't actually all that dark) and therefore posed unique technical challenges.

"We are pleased that the power equipment of the Chang'e-4 mission is supplied by radioisotope sources of electricity produced in Russian Federation", he said.

The local media reported the unmanned Chang'e 4 lunar lander and rover spacecraft touched down at 10:26 a.m. local time (02:26 GMT) on Thursday. With the help of ground-penetrating radar, it will allow scientists to study the moon's mysterious "dark side", how its surface interacts with solar wind, and perhaps the process behind the formation of lunar water.

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The craft's rover, called Yutu 2, has started to make its way across the lunar surface.

A lunar rover has begun exploring the far side of the moon in the first-ever mission of its kind.

As a solution, China in May blasted the Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite into the moon's orbit, positioning it to relay data and commands between the lander and Earth.

Jadehase 2 has six independent drive wheels and can travel up to 200 meters per hour. The United States is the only other country that has carried out moon landings.

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The pioneering achievement is another demonstration of China's ambitions to be a space power.

These allegations have come up after recent analysis of pictures taken from the Chinese Chang'e-4 probe allegedly found no traces of the American Moon landings existing on the Moon. The far side can't be seen from earth, and its surface has never been observed up close.

A Long March 3B rocket carrying Chang'e 4 blasted off on December 8 from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southern China.

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