China's fast-growing space program reached a lunar milestone on Thursday: landing a probe on the mysterious and wrongly named "dark" side of the moon.
Exploring the universe from the other side of the moon, which people can't see from the Earth, can eventually help scientists learn more about the early days of the solar system, and even the birth of the first star in the universe. Three nations —
The United States, the former Soviet Union and China recently --
Everyone has already sent the spacecraft to the side of the moon facing the Earth, but this landing is the first landing on the far side.
This side has been observed many times from lunar orbit, but never at close range.
China National Space Administration says 10: 26m.
The landing of the Chang 'e 4 spacecraft "opened a new chapter in the exploration of the human moon.
A photo taken at 11: 40m.
A photo sent back by Chang 'e 4 shows a small crater and a barren surface that appears to be illuminated by the light of the lunar probe.
Its name comes from a Chinese goddess who, according to legend, has lived on the moon for thousands of years.
A challenge to launch a probe on the far side of the moon is to communicate with the moon from the Earth, so China has launched a relay satellite in May, enabling Chang 'e 4 to send back information.
The visit highlights China's growing ambition to compete with the United States. S.
Russia and Europe are in space and, more broadly, consolidating their status as regional and global powers.
After becoming China's leader in 2013, President Xi Jinping said: "the space dream is part of a dream to make China stronger . ".
Chinese media and officials welcomed December.
The launch of "Chang 'e 4" was one of the major achievements of the country in 2018.
More than an hour after the landing incident, the public has been in suspense about the landing itself, and nbc cctv announced the news at the top of the noon news.
By then, speculation has begun to spread on social media in China and overseas.
Hou Xiyun said: "In general, China's space technology is still lagging behind the West, but with the landing of the far end of the moon, we have already reached the front . " Professor, School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University.
He added that China's target is Mars, Jupiter and asteroids: "There is no doubt that our country will be farther and farther.
Landing is "a big deal" because it uses the engineering technology of the spacecraft itself to choose a safe place to land in a dangerous terrain, which is called autonomous hazard avoidance, jay merlot, moon and planetary scientist at Purdue University, said.
About eight years ago, he recalled, he mentioned the idea that the technology would be used for NASA's unfunded moon mission, but was told it wouldn't work at the time.
"Landing on the moon is more challenging than on Mars," Merlot said . ".
"On Mars, you can pick a smooth area.
"On 2013, the predecessor" Chang 'e 3 "spacecraft realized the first moon landing since the 1976 th of the former Soviet Union.
The United States is the only country to successfully send astronauts to the moon.
2019 will mark the 50 th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing
Although China is also considering a manned mission.
At present, it plans to launch the Chang 'e 5 probe to the moon next year and let it return to Earth with samples --
This has not been done since the Soviet mission in 1976.
In popular culture, the far side of the moon is sometimes called the "dark side" because it is always invisible from the Earth and is relatively unknown, not because it lacks sunlight.
Chang 'e 4, composed of the lander and rover, will undergo astronomical observations and detect the composition of the soil.
The ship landed at the South Pole-
The Aitken Basin, the oldest known impact zone.
Scientists want to know-
Between 3. 9 billion and 4.
4 billion years old-
In order to better understand a period in the history of the solar system, it is called the heavy bombing of the later period.
At that time, space rocks tilted against each other and crashed into satellites and planets, including the Earth.
Merlesh of Purdue University said that understanding the age and chemical composition of this collision zone will help to better understand the ancient history of the Earth.
Chang 'e 4 can also contribute to radio astronomy.
According to the official Xinhua news agency, "the far end of the Moon is a rare, quiet place without interference from radio signals from the Earth," said Yu Guobin, a spokesman for the delegation.
"This probe can fill low
Frequency observation in radio astronomy will provide important information for the Study of star origin and Nebula evolution.
Harvard astronomers Avi Loeb said that it is possible to see further in the future --
Enter the universe from a distance because the moon itself blocks interference radio signals from the Earth.
From a distance, scientists may eventually be able to trace back to 50 million to 100 million years after the Big Bang, when the first stars were born --
Even earlier, he said.
Following Russia and the United States, China carried out its first manned space mission in 2003. S.
It has put two space stations into orbit and plans to launch a Mars probe in the medium term. 2020s.
China's space program suffered a rare setback last year, and the rocket failed in March 5.
"Building space power is a dream we have been pursuing," Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration project, said in a conversation with CCTV at the Beijing Aerospace flight control center.
"We have come to realize this.