For the first time in history a probe landed on the far side of the moon. The probe Chang’e-4, named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, captured the first close-up image of the moon’s far side using a relay satellite.
Chang’e-4 was launched from Xichang, in southwestern China, early Tuesday morning Dec. 8th. It traveled for 22 days before entering into lower orbit around the moon. The von Kármán crater, where the probe landed, will offer insights into the early history of the moon and solar system. The far side of the moon will also provide a research point shielded from earth’s radio interference.
In the next phase of China’s lunar program, the Chang’e 5 and 6 will collect lunar samples and return to Earth. Chang’e 5 is scheduled to launch in December.
Top photo: “The Far Side of the Moon — And All the Way Around” by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is licensed under CC BY 2.0