China’s Chang’e 4 Spacecraft Will Land on Dark Side of the Moon in the Next 60 Hours

China’s space agency said its control center in Beijing would choose a suitable time to try the landing, but the Smithsonian Institution, the American museums and research centers group, reported that the craft was expected to set down on the Von Kármán crater landing point between January 1 and 3.

The moon lander was launched at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China on December 8 on a Long March 3B rocket and entered lunar orbit four days later.

The far side of the moon faces away from Earth and it remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition from sites on the near side where previous missions have landed.

China launched a relay satellite, Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, between Earth and the moon. Operating about 400,000km (250,000 miles) from Earth, Queqiao will pass on signals to the lunar lander and rover of Chang’e 4.

Lunar Sample Return Next by 2020

China will launch a returnable spacecraft called Chang’e 5 by 2020. Chang’e 5 will include a lunar lander and a rover that could return to Earth after collecting samples and performing surveys on the planet’s satellite

25 thoughts on “China’s Chang’e 4 Spacecraft Will Land on Dark Side of the Moon in the Next 60 Hours”

  1. Which one? There are five, 3 from the U.S. and 2 from the Soviet Union. As for deterioration, a follow up inspection would be very useful to help determine lifespans in space of various metals, materials and thicknesses. Soil depth accumulation? None. It took several billion years to get just a few inches…

  2. “Dark-Side” is still appropriate as lack of detail, due to not facing the earth & communications loss (going dark).

  3. Far side, not dark side. There is no more a dark side of the moon than there is a dark side of the Earth.

    …only English majors say “dark side”. People in aerospace say “far side” for the tidal locked moon’s hemisphere facing away from the Earth.

  4. I wonder if any nation considered finding the lunar rover. They could see the deterioration of the rover and soil depth accumulation. Just a thought best of luck to China.

  5. By using the term “dark” side of the Moon, there are some people that think the farside of the Moon is in perpetual darkness, which it isn’t.

  6. It is both the dark side and the far side of the moon. It is always in the dark relative to Earth. It can also be considered dark to radio signals. Without a relay satellite in the right position direct communications between the dark side and Earth are impossible.

  7. Probably have not made a final decision on the exact landing time. The last landing was broadcast live, I watched it.

  8. So the landing date is tomorrow, but CNSA has not even confirmed the landing date yet? I am guessing this will be another secretive mission with no live video stream? Is the Jan. 1-3 date going by China time zone?

  9. Dark. It’s DARK.

    From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

    4 a : not clear to the understanding
    b: not known or explored because of remoteness
    the darkest reaches of the continent
    5: not fair in complexion : SWARTHY
    dark skin
    6: SECRET
    kept his plans dark

    You can see that meanings 4 and 6 fit perfectly well with the side of the moon that can’t be seen and is hidden from us.

    There is no reason to change a perfectly cromulent term just because some people don’t know that words can have more than one meaning.

  10. Considering that more information is available now than in all of human history, I am continually amazed at how ignorant our culture is becoming. I’m also disheartened that so many poorly informed people are now published journalists. Yikes.

  11. … where it will rendezvous with the “Cheech” lander as part of a joint mission with the Mexican Space Agency.

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