World Chi­nese probe makes his­toric land­ing on moon’s far side

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World - 14

A Chi­nese probe made the first-ever soft land­ing by a space­craft on the far side of the moon on Thurs­day, the lat­est step in the coun­try’s am­bi­tious space pro­gram, state-run me­dia re­ported.

The Chang’e-4, con­sist­ing of a lan­der and a rover, touched down at 10:26 a.m. Beijing time, the China Na­tional Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced, ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua News Agency.

Shortly af­ter the land­ing, the probe suc­cess­fully sent back to Earth the first photo of the “dark side” of the moon, lo­cal me­dia said.

The probe was launched by a Long March-3b car­rier rocket from China’s south­west­ern prov­ince of Sichuan on Dec. 8 and spent about three weeks in or­bit around the moon.

The lu­nar ex­plorer will sur­vey the min­eral com­po­si­tion on the far side of the moon, which faces away and can­not be ob­served from Earth.

The un­manned probe -- named af­ter the Chi­nese moon god­dess Chang’e -- is also ex­pected to study the sur­face struc­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment of that part of the as­tro­nom­i­cal body.

As nei­ther the lan­der nor the rover can com­mu­ni­cate di­rectly with ground sta­tions, China al­ready launched a re­lay satel­lite last year.

In 2013, Chang’e-4’s pre­de­ces­sor, Chang’e-3, touched down on the near side of the moon.

The Chi­nese lead­er­ship led by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has pledged to ac­cel­er­ate ef­forts to make the coun­try a “strong space power.” – Ky­odo

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