China Prepares to Head for the Far Side of the Moon

Cesar Mills
January 5, 2019

China is about to be the first nation to land on the dark side of the Moon. That's why, in addition to the instruments on the rover, the lander itself has its own scientific instruments, including a low-frequency spectrometer that could carry out pioneering low-frequency radio observations of deep space.

"But, just as importantly, it gives us practice operating a mission from the far side of the moon, and relaying data back to Earth via a satellite circling the far side". The far side is a far more rugged and mountainous surface than the well-studied near side of the Moon.

Chang'e-4 is a precursor to another mission, Chang'e-5, which is scheduled to launch next year.

China plans to launch spacecraft on never explored side of moon, exhibiting its developing aspirations as a space capacity to match Russian Federation, the European Union and US. To resolve the issue, China launched a communications satellite, Queqiao, in May.

Bridenstine will be joined by representatives of the companies whose projects have been selected, as well as by Thomas Zurbuchen, who leads NASA's Science Mission Directorate; astronaut Stan Love; Andrea Mosie, Apollo sample-laboratory manager; and Barbara Cohen, a scientist who works with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.

Although located near the moon's south pole, Chang'e 4's target crater is still subjected to extreme temperature changes as the moon rotates once every 28 days.

We are looking at a larger range of drone operations than Afghanistan Syria and Iraq combined. We need to cover more area on the moon
We are looking at a larger range of drone operations than Afghanistan Syria and Iraq combined. We need to cover more area on the moon

It's also carrying a 3 kg (6.6 lb) container of seeds and silkworm larvae to study whether they can grow on the surface of the Moon - an experiment that could have long-term implications for a lunar colony.

It will also perform radio-astronomical studies that, because the far side always faces away from Earth, will be "free from interference from our planet's ionosphere, human-made radio frequencies and auroral radiation noise", space industry expert Leonard David wrote on the website This time, however, the agency said that it wants to establish permanent settlements on the lunar surface.

China's first moon rover Yutu - or Jade Rabbit - explored the side of the moon facing Earth in 2013. It will also reportedly experiment on low-gravity plant growth. Both include a large lander weighing about 1,200 kilograms, and from this a smaller rover about one meter across and weighing 140 kilograms is deployed on the lunar surface. According to the Chinese plans to land up to 2030, for the first time a Chinese on the moon.

In May, China launched a relay satellite called Queqiao that's now orbiting about 450,000 kilometers (280,000 miles) from Earth, where a gravitational equilibrium can be maintained so it stays on course to relay messages from the rover back to Earth.

Besides, the CNAS is also planning to launch the Chang'e-5 next year.

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