China, historic landing on the dark side of the moon

China, historic landing on the dark side of the moon

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For the first time in the history of space exploration, and after chasing Russian and American technology, China is the first nation in the world to have made a controlled landing on dark side of the moon.

The Chinese Change’e-4 probe landed this morning at 10:26 Beijing time (03:26 in Italy) on the side not visible from Earth. This is a historical moment in that no major world power, until now, had attempted a moon landing in this particular area of ​​the moon. Often referred to as the "dark side", although "dark" in this case means "invisible" rather than "missing light".

In fact, both the near and far sides of the Moon live both day and night. But due to a phenomenon called "block of the tides " we see only one. While, in fact, in the part exposed to us we can see many "lunar seas" (that is, flat basalt valleys that form those dark spots that cover almost 1/3 of the satellite), in the hidden part the surface is dotted with impact craters and seas they are less than 2%.

The mission on the dark side of the moon officially began last December 7, when theChinese Space Agency (CNSA) launched the probe that entered the lunar orbit on 12 December. At the end of the planned 27 days of travel, the aircraft landed on the craterVon Karman, inside the basinSouth Pole-Aitken.Landing on the dark side of the moon it proved to be very complex, not only for thecommunication difficulties with the Earth but also because the soil structure it is in fact a lot hostile. That is why Beijing left Chang’e-4 in orbit for a long time before deciding on the right place to land.

Why is China interested in the dark side of the moon?

The Chang'e-4 mission aims to explore the surface and subsoil of the crater Von Kármán, located within the wider basin of the South Pole Aitken (SPA). Thought to have been formed by a gigantic impact at the beginning of the Moon's history. "This huge structure is over 2,500 km (1,550 miles) in diameter and 13 km deep, one of the largest impact craters in the Solar System and the largest, deepest and oldest basin on the Moon," he says. Andrew Coates, professor of physics at the UCL of Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey. The goal is also to shed light on the evolution of the Moon and attempt the cultivation of plants in view of a future lunar base.

The Chang'e-4 mission it represents the second phase of China's ambitious lunar program which includes orbit, landing and return to Earth. The first two Chang'e missions, in 2007 and 2010, brought two spacecraft into orbit around the Moon, while in December 2013 the Chang'e-3 rover was the first to land. The third phase of the program, for which the Chang'e 5 and 6 rovers will be used, will attempt to collect lunar samples and bring them to Earth in the coming years. The launch of Chang'e-5 is scheduled for December 2019.

The scientific instruments of the Chang'e-4 mission

The Chinese Chang'e-4 probe has two distinct elements: alander weighing 4 tons is a small rover of 150 kilos.

The lander carries the Landing Camera (LCAM), the Terrain Camera (TCAM) and the low frequency spectrometer (LFS). It is also equipped with a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) to power lunar operations.

The rover carries the panoramic camera (PCAM) to obtain three-dimensional images of the lunar landing and patrolling surface. This is for the study of surface morphology and geological structure.

The Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) for the survey of the lunar sub-surface structure to investigate the surface morphology and the geological structure; the spectrometer of visible imaging to examine the material composition of the lunar surface and available resources.

Curated by Christel Schachter

Video: Chinas Historic Moon Landing Captured by Probes Camera (May 2022).