SHANGHAI • A Chinese space probe is positioning for landing on the dark side of the moon for the first time, as reported by Xinhua's official news agency yesterday, a mission considered an important step as the country looks for Boost your space program.
The probe, Chang & # 39; e-4, yesterday joined a planned orbit "to prepare for the first soft landing on the far side of the moon," Xinhua said, citing the National Administration Space of China. He did not say when landing would take place.
The moon is closed to Earth, rotated at the same speed that the planet orbits, so that the farthest side (or the "dark side") is never visible from Earth. The previous spacecraft have seen the farthest side of the Moon, but none of them have landed.
China launched the Chang & # 39; e-4 probe earlier this month, led by a Long March-3B rocket. It includes a scary and explorer to explore the surface of the moon.
Xinhua said the probe had entered an elliptical lunar orbit at 8:55 p.m., which led him to the nearest point 15 km away from the surface of the moon. The Chang & # 39; e-4 first came into a lunar orbit on December 12.
The tasks of Chang & # 39; e-4 include astronomical observation, which studies the terrain of the moon, the shape of the earth and the mineral composition, and measure the neutron radiation and the neutral atoms to study the environment atmosphere on the edge of the moon.
China aims to catch up with Russia and the United States to become an important space power for 2030. It is planned to launch the construction of its own manned space station next year. However, while China has insisted that its ambitions are purely peaceful, the Department of Defense of the United States has accused of pursuing activities aimed at preventing others from using assets based on space in crisis.
The control center of the space will select the right time to land the probe on the far side of the moon, Xinhua said. Its descent is being helped by a satellite relay, Queqiao or the Magpie Bridge.