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China Becomes the First Country to Softly Land on the Far Side of the Moon


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Last night a Chinese robotic lander landed softly on the far side of the moon, becoming the first nation to do so. The  Chang'e-4 lander was the fourth part of the mission, with previous trips being a rover on the near side of the moon and a lunar satellite launched in May that facilitated communication to the lander on the far side.

 

 

The mission will help determine more about the far lunar surface, exploring a basin that his ~1550 miles wide. The hope is that in examining the basin and discovering more about its age will inform us on the formation of our solar system.

 

Chang'e-5 will be a robotic lander designed to carry lunar material back to earth.

 

To me, much like the American missions to the moon, it largely feels like an engineering exercise. I think it's a near certainty that China would like to put people on the moon, though they haven't been open about any potential plans. Still, demonstrating the ability to land, communicate, and eventually leave the moon all seem like natural steps towards that goal. Regardless, it's exciting to see more being put toward space exploration in general. One nice thing about the moon is that there aren't all those multi-year waiting periods that the rest of the solar system entail. If China landing stuff on the moon gets folks excited or competitive, so much the better.

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6 minutes ago, PaladinSolo said:

Its crazy just how far behind everyone is from NASA, their 2020 Mars rover for example is going to collect samples to be returned when another lander brings a return vehicle to bring the samples back to earth, but if someone is able to catch up it'd be China.

 

Firefly. :daydream:

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