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China Targets the Dark Side of the Moon with Chang'e-4 Rover

On Saturday, the Chinese Space Agency (CNSA) successfully launched the Chang'e-4 spaceship on a historic mission that will see a human-made machine land for the first time on the dark side of the Moon.
Rendering of the Chang'e-4 Rover 7 photos
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The ship was carried to space onboard a Long March-3B rocket which took off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan Province.

The spacecraft is programmed to conduct a soft-landing on the far side of Earth’s satellite, in the Von Karman Crater, at a yet unspecified time. Once there, it will begin studying its surroundings using cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers.

Its main task is to identify the composition of the soil in the region, but the ship also carries an experiment like no other. It carries potato and Arabidopsis plant seeds enclosed in a mini biosphere, and biologists will use these seeds to see how plants breath and use photosynthesis while on the Moon.

"We have to keep the temperature in the mini biosphere within a range from 1 degree to 30 degrees, and properly control the humidity and nutrition,” said Xie Gengxin, the chief designer of the experiment
according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.

“We will use a tube to direct the natural light on the surface of Moon into the tin to make the plants grow."

Chang'e-4 is a Chinese-led project, but was developed with the help of scientists from Germany and Sweden. It comprises two pieces of hardware, the main lander, and a rover and has been built initially as a backup for the 2013 Chang’e-3 mission.

Should the landing go according to plan, the moment will officially mark the start of the new race to the Moon, one which will be joined next year by the U.S. and Russia.
Expect to have a 2019 filled with things landing on the Moon, and even space tourists going around it.

 
 
 
 
 

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