BEIJING – On Saturday, China launched the first probe that has ever explored the dark side of the Moon, another milestone in its ambitious space program, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The probe, Chang's e-4, is expected to make the first fine landing on the far side of the Moon, according to Xinhua. The previous spacecraft saw the distant side of the Moon, but no one could reach it.
The moon is firmly locked on Earth and rotates at the same speed as orbiting our planet, so the distant side is never visible from Earth.
The development of the space program in China was the priority of its leaders, when President Xi Jinping called on China to become a space power.
At 2:23 am, a long March-3B missile carrying a probe, including a landing gear and a rover, launched from the Xichang launch center in southwest China, said Xinhua.
The task of the Chang-e-4 probe is low-frequency radio astronomical observations, terrain and soil surveying, mineral composition detection and neutron radiation measurements, and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon, Xinhua quoted the Chinese National Space Administration.
China is going to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space force by 2030. Next year, he plans to start building his own space station with a crew.
However, while China insists that its ambitions are purely peaceful, the US Defense Minister has accused it of continuing its activities aimed at preventing other peoples from using space-based resources during the crisis.