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06 January 2019, 07:16 | Ross Houston
Chang'e 4 spacecraft lands on far side of the Moon in world first for China
Soon after it landed, the rover got to work and took a photo or two of its landing site, and already sent them back to Earth.
The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side is never visible from Earth. The "Chang'e 4" spacecraft touched down on the far-side lunar surface at 10:26 AM Beijing time Wednesday Jan. 2, 2019, morning.
The 1.2-ton lander is made from backup components of the Chang'e-3 mission, which China's space program landed on Mare Imbrium on the near side of the Moon five years ago.
In 2013, Chang'e 3 made the first moon landing since the former Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976.
China's mission is to learn more about the little-understood region of the moon, as well as to compete with the U.S. and Russian Federation as a powerhouse of space exploration.
Chang'e 4 could also contribute to radio astronomy.
After the successful landing, experts verified the conditions of "Queqiao", meaning Magpie Bridge, which was launched in May of 2018 to set up the communication link between the Earth and the moon's far side.
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As reported by the Metro, mission spokesman Yu Guobin said: "The far side of the moon is a rare quiet place that is free from interference of radio signals from Earth". The lunar module was launched in December.
Adding to the difficulties, Chang'e-4 was sent to the Aitken Basin in the lunar south pole region - known for its craggy and complex terrain - state media has said. The country last night was able to successfully land its Chang'e-4 spacecraft on the part of the moon that Earth can not see and no other spacecraft has reached before.
The moon orbits Earth at the same speed at which it rotates around its axis.
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