On Saturday early morning, the neighbour China launched a ‘Long March-3B rocket’ destined to land on the far side of the moon.
According to Xinhua news agency, China’s Chang’e-4 lunar probe mission – a Long March-3B rocket – was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. The Chang’e-4 mission will be a key step in revealing the mysterious far side of the moon
Executive director of the Chang’e-4 probe project, Zhang He said, “The soft landing and exploration of the far side, which has never been done before, will gain first-hand information about the terrain and lunar soil components and other scientific data, which will help enrich our understanding of the moon and the universe.”
Meanwhile, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced that the scientific tasks of the Chang’e-4 mission include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon.
“Three scientific and technological experiments, designed by Chinese universities, will also be carried out during the mission,” Xinhua said.
Scientists also believe that the special electromagnetic environment and geological features on the far side of the moon will be suitable for low-frequency radio astronomical observation and research into lunar substances composition. However, landing and roving there require a relay satellite to transmit signals.
China has also promoted international cooperation in its lunar exploration program, with four scientific payloads of the Chang’e-4 mission developed by scientists from Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier on May 21, China launched the relay satellite “Queqiao”, meaning Magpie Bridge, to set up the communication link between the earth and the moon’s far side. The satellite has successfully entered a halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the earth-moon system, about 455,000 km from the earth. It is the world’s first communication satellite operating in that orbit.
Importantly, Saturday’s launch was the 294th mission of the Long March rocket series.