China goes to the dark side of the Moon
CHINA launched the world’s first mission to the dark side of the Moon yesterday.
The Chang’e 4 mission will drop a lunar lander and rover in the vast 13km-deep South Pole-Aitken basin. The Moon’s dark side faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown – although some light does reach it.
The craft will explore both above and below the lunar surface and carry out an experiment to see whether potato and mustard seeds can germinate alongside silkworms in a sealed container.
The mission, which blasted off aboard a Long March 3B rocket, marks China’s growing ambition to become a space power to rival Russia, Europe and the US. The probe will communicate with Earth via a relay satellite called Queqiao.