Chang'e-4 - China space mission lands on Moon's far side

Gordon_R

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https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46724727

China says it has successfully landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, the first ever such attempt and landing.

At 10:26 Beijing time (02:26 GMT), the unmanned Chang'e-4 probe touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, state media said.

It is carrying instruments to characterise the region's geology, as well as a biological experiment.

State media called the landing "a major milestone in space exploration".

While past missions have been to the Earth-facing side, this is the first time a craft has landed on the unexplored far side.

The probe has sent some first pictures from the surface. With no direct communications link possible, all pictures and data are first sent to a separate satellite and then relayed from there to earth.
 

upup

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Does the sun shine on the dark side, is it just dark from earth. That rover, does it use solar panels
 

SmuGS

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"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."
 

Solarion

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Does the sun shine on the dark side, is it just dark from earth. That rover, does it use solar panels
It's only dark for us, but it does indeed get sunlight as it is still rotating. Just that it's rotation is as such that it keeps one side facing away from Earth.
 

ShaunyCT

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".... The probe has sent some first pictures from the surface. With no direct communications link possible, all pictures and data are first sent to a separate satellite and then relayed from there to earth. "

If that is so, then how did they manage to make a successful landing on the moon?????
 

Gordon_R

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".... The probe has sent some first pictures from the surface. With no direct communications link possible, all pictures and data are first sent to a separate satellite and then relayed from there to earth. "

If that is so, then how did they manage to make a successful landing on the moon?????
The lander itself was probably autonomous (like other spacecraft).

Communications back to earth were done via another satellite (equivalent to a geostationary satellite around earth): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang'e_4#Queqiao_satellite

Communications must go through a communications relay satellite, which is placed at a location that has a clear view of both the landing site and the Earth. On 20 May 2018, CNSA launched the Queqiao (meaning "Magpie Bridge") relay satellite to a halo orbit around the Earth–Moon L2 point. The relay satellite has a mass of 425 kg, and it uses a 4.2 m antenna to receive X band signals from the lander and rover, and relay them to Earth control on the S band.

The spacecraft took 24 days to reach L2, using a lunar swing-by to save fuel.[29] On 14 June 2018, Queqiao finished its final adjustment burn and entered the L2 halo mission orbit, which is about 65,000 kilometers from the Moon. This is the first lunar relay satellite at this location.
 

Gordon_R

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There is also a rover attached to the lander, which will do preliminary geological investigation: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46760729

A Chinese robotic rover has got its wheels dirty after rolling off its landing craft and onto the lunar soil.

The Chang'e-4 spacecraft touched down on the far side of the Moon at 10:26 Beijing time (02:26 GMT) on Thursday.

Lunar exploration chief Wu Weiren echoed Neil Armstrong's famous quote, telling state media the event marked a "huge stride" for China.

The rover and lander are carrying instruments to analyse the unexplored region's geology.

It represents the first ever such attempt and landing on the far side of the Moon, which has distinct characteristics to the near side we can see from Earth.
The Chang'e-4 probe is aiming to explore a place called the Von Kármán crater, located within the much larger South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin - thought to have been formed by a giant impact early in the Moon's history.

"This huge structure is over 2,500km (1,550 miles) in diameter and 13km deep, one of the largest impact craters in the Solar System and the largest, deepest and oldest basin on the Moon," Andrew Coates, professor of physics at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey, told the BBC.

The event responsible for carving out the SPA basin is thought to have been so powerful, it punched through the Moon's crust and down into the zone called the mantle. Researchers will want to train the instruments on any mantle rocks exposed by the calamity.
 

Thor

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Americans can't be happy with the Chinese in their backyard now
 
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