China is preparing for a groundbreaking 2018 mission to land on the far side of the Moon
China is preparing its Chang’e 4 mission, which if successful, would mark the first time a country has landed on the far side of the moon. The Chinese space agency even wants to try and grow plants and insects on the moon, paving the way for future human colonies on Earth’s natural satellite.
According to reports from China, the nation’s space agency is set for a groundbreaking 2018 mission to the far side of the moon. China aims to land on the far side of the moon and will even try to grow plants and insects on the surface of the moon.
The mission is considered as one of the most complicated and difficult missions to space, China has ever attempted.
The mission to the far side of the moon will see China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft launched into space on a Long March 4C rocket.
In 2013, China’s Chang’e 3, successfully deployed the Jade Rabbit rover, marking the first soft landing on the moon since 1976. Image Credit: CLEP/CNSA
Chang’e 4 will land on the far side of the moon, and if the mission succeeds, China will become the first country to successfully land a controlled spacecraft on the far side of the moon. The Chinese Space Agency wants to land on the so-called South Pole-Aitken Basin, a vast area on the moon, located in the southern hemisphere of the far side which extends from the South Pole to Aitken crater.
The Rover will carry a ‘space-gardening kit’ which will ‘pave way for a human outpost’ by exploring the lunar surface and examining the feasibility of growing plants on the surface of Earth’s natural satellite.
“The Chinese are pushing back the frontier with such a technically challenging mission,” said Brian Harvey, a space analyst, and author of China in Space: The Great Leap Forward, in an interview with the Guardian.
Furthermore, the Chinese space agency also plans to send another mission to the moon which would take samples of the surface and bring them back to Earth for further analysis.
China’s Rover on the surface of the moon. Image Credit
The mission which will land on the moon, and return samples to Earth is the Chang’e-5 lunar probe which is currently
undergoing a final round of tests and is expected to be on standby for launch from August,
China’s huge interest in space exploration is being called out as a competition between the Asian country and the United States after President Donald Trump made it clear he wants to revitalize US space exploration.
But China doesn’t only want to go to the far side of the moon.
The Chinese space agency claims that in a series of different missions is one that would see a spacecraft reach Mars.
This mission would take place in the year 2020, and its objective would be to collect samples of the red planet for further analysis on Earth.
China’s president Xi Jinping wants his country to become a global power in space exploration.
“Not long ago, the United States’ Trump Administration revealed an ambition to return to the moon. Our country also announced a series of deep space exploration plans,” said the official Science and Technology Daily.
“The moon is the first stop for humanity’s march toward deep space,” the paper said.
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