China Lands Chang’e 4 on the Far Side of the Moon

A Chinese spacecraft on Thursday made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon.

The lunar explorer Chang’e 4 touched down at 10:26 a.m. China Central Television said in a brief announcement at the top of its noon news broadcast.

The far side of the moon faces away from Earth and is relatively unexplored. It is also known as the dark side of the moon.

The pioneering landing demonstrates China’s growing ambitions as a space power. In 2013, Chang’e 3 was the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976.

The mission of Chang’e 4, which is carrying a rover, includes carrying out low-frequency radio astronomical observations and probing the structure and mineral composition of the terrain.

25 thoughts on “China Lands Chang’e 4 on the Far Side of the Moon”

  1. Interesting how many here applaud a regime’s ability to put a military-built telecom tower on the back of the moon than can help guide other “satellites” to “do stuff”. Narrative is a successful sell I see.

  2. China hard at work here. Instruments supplied by European partners. Titanium structural components as well. Got to hand it to them, they are consistent in their ability to create good propaganda. The actual science here is not much to cheer about. Much more important is what is behind all this.

    Not to forget that their ministry of defense built this. Once you have a telecom relay station on the far side of the moon, you have the capability to steer ANY craft around the moon and upon the “backside” of, say, a US defense GSO craft. Sneaky. Mike Collins, head of Pentagons $80bn R&D program is hard at work figuring out countermeasures. Wouldn’t surprise me if our Defense Support Program is up to something.

  3. Astronaut Michael Collins must have been the loneliest human ever.

    Congratulations to the Chinese people.

  4. Well, as a European, I hope our bureaucrats finally get over their timidity and start copying either US or Chinese or the Russians, or… the ambitious Indians… Building the service module for the NASA Orion is just… meh. Congrats to the Chinese for being the only country to successfully do it in the 21st century (crashing into the Moon doesn’t count).

  5. Your reply was less aggressively sarcastic than I would have been.
    Which is why I suppressed the urge to reply.

  6. Wakeup call for NASA? You are aware they just went to UltimaThule right?

    Sending probes to places is the one thing that NASA is still fantastic at.

  7. Looks to me that they are just copying something WE had to work hard to achieve the first time like, what? Over 50 years ago?

  8. No. The ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is a phrase used by scientific illiterates, for the most part.

  9. …on the far side of the moon.

    Where it can’t be seen by others here on Earth. Much like how Chinese economic stats are ‘achieved’, too.

    The pioneering landing demonstrates China’s growing ambitions as a space power.

    How? By being another wannabe superpower nation yet again only really playing catch up?
    This isn’t much of an achievement any more than making auto manufacturing plants that made knock-off copies of the Jeep Wrangler was.

  10. Congratulations on the successful landing of the Chinese probe Czang 4 on the dark side of the Moon, there is no doubt that this is a highly identifiable mission in the field of space resources, the probe landing site is suspected of depositing huge PGM deposits from the remains of the metallic core of a huge asteroid (quoted “large magnetic anomalies” 5 in the Aitken South Pole Basin – shock basin with a diameter of 2,500 km, depth about 13 km). According to a simulation conducted by an international team of scientists, an explanation of such a strong magnetic anomaly – 100 times higher than the rest of the surface may be the residual metal in this area the core of the asteroid whose diameter was estimated at about 200 km and the core itself at 110 km. Striking the surface at 30%, the asteroid created a huge crater, about 20% of the material is evaporated due to the huge impact temperature, p 80% of the asteroid material that was left was scattered. However, the vast majority of the remaining material of the metal core was deposited on the slope of the Aitken crater.We can estimate, on the basis of the above simulation, that after impact a heavily fragmented object could remain, the total volume of which would be 356 817 904 804 533.94 m3 (assuming analogy to the composition of the largest known 16 Psyche metallic asteroid, where the porosity is 40% and the density is about 4.5 tons / m3), the core weight could be approx.

    1 605 680 571 620 358 tons

  11. A real accomplishment, China isn’t just copying here, but producing some real science that wasn’t available before. Good for them!

  12. Nice accomplishment … a 1,400 kg rover is not a toy but some real mass that could potentially do some real exploration. Hopefully this is a wake up call to NASA, but I doubt it. We will need to wait for SpaceX to put up their own at Shakelton (ice, 90% solar, 100% shade for solar radiation protection) in prep for landing the first perm hab on the moon. Maybe 3 years for the SpaceX rover (sent by an FH) and 5 for a Starship that is left there as a base. The real challenge will be comms into the crater requiring maybe 10 small lunar polar comm sats for 100% coverage. So it could be a real race between China and SpaceX for the poles, but lunar this time.

  13. Cool stuff. Let’s just not forget to have articles about a NASA satellite going into orbit around the asteroid Bennu or the pictures being returned of Ultima Thule, two planetoids joined at the hip (have you seen the pics? It’s a snowman!), and even more significantly, 6.5 billion km from Earth (nearly a third again as far away as Pluto, which it flew past in 2015).

    For something really interesting, go to Google Maps, satellite view, and scroll way the hell out. You discover you can go explore the surfaces of Mercury, Pluto, Charon, Mars, Venus, and a mess of other things in the Solar System. Think of all the masses of past writers and scientists, among others, who would have given their right arm to play around with that. Amazing times we live in.

  14. Congrats to China for a successful landing! Hope to see more pics as the mission progresses. Also, nice to see Moon pics in “color” (or as much as there is on the Moon).

  15. It would be hard for your statements here to be more wrong. Did I miss the sarcasm tag?

    There is no “side” of the moon that is in perpetual darkness. The moon does rotate at approximately the same rate that it revolves around the earth — that is what tidal lock implies. So there is roughly one hemisphere of the moon that can never be seen from here on earth. But all points on the moon’s surface receive sunlight approximately half of the time, except for the bottoms of a few craters near the moon’s north and south poles.

  16. The moon is in tidal lock with the earth — aka — the moon does not rotate on it’s axis.
    The dark side of the moon is the side away from the sun (hence it is dark).
    The dark side of the moon is towards the earth during the New Moon — New phase occurs when the Sun and Moon are on the same side of the Earth and we see only the dark side.

  17. No the far side of the moon is not in perpetual darkness. It just never faces Earth, as same one side of the moon always faces Earth

  18. Correct me if I’m wrong, i thought that the far side of the moon was in perpetual darkness? If I’m not wrong then where is the shadow coming form?

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