China's Chang'e 4 And Chang'e 5 Moon Missions Underway

Posted: Sep 9 2015, 5:15am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 10 2015, 11:31pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

China's Chang'e 4 and Chang'e 5 Moon Missions Underway
Photo Credit: Xinhua

China is planning to be the first country to land on the dark side of the moon.

China has set its eyes on the moon. Earlier this year the country announced plans to land on the dark side of the moon. Also called the far side of the moon, it is not dark, but not viewable from earth.

In 1959 the Soviet probe Luna 3 was the first to deliver a photo of the dark side of the moon. The Chang'e 4 mission is scheduled for 2020. The spacecraft will land a rover on the unexplored moon surface.

There will be an earlier Chinese mission to the moon under the mission name Chang'e 5. The image above shows the landing site for the the Chang'e 5. Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) has released the photo, which was taken by a Chinese lunar orbiter launched in October of last year.

The photo has resolution of 1m and was taken 30km above the moon's surface.

China plans the Chang'e 5 mission for 2017 according to China Daily. The moon lander is supposed to return to earth with geological samples.

While the moon is China's new goal, the United States and Europe have their mind set on Mars. Manned Mars missions are though still rather questionable. China's moon missions are a much more realistic space exploration goal.

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