Journey to the far side of the moon

 

Chang’e-4 mission which is a part of China’s ambitious project is scheduled to reach the lunar surface in December 2018. It is supposed to become the first landing in the space exploration process to make a soft landing on the far side of the moon. The lander-rover combination will find out the different ways of exploring the “dark side” and also the universe’s radio sky. Another essential thread to this mission was the launch of Queqiao relay satellite which got lifted off on May 18. The primary objective of this relay satellite would be to pass on information from the Change’s-4 to the Earth. The China National Space Administration is executing both of these missions.

The program was named keeping in mind the Chinese Goddess of the Moon and the name “Queqio” means “bridges of the magpie.” Some of the earlier missions that brought this particular mission into the limelight are Chang’e-1 which was initiated in 2007. Similarly in 2010 Chang’e-2 was initiated, in 2013 Chang’e-3 was lifted off and finally, in the year of 2014, Chang’e-5 TI test capsule flew past the moon and got positioned around the Earth.

Earlier, different astronauts as well as satellites have flown past the moon and looked very carefully at our satellite, but no mission till date has been in landing on the far side of the planet. Ths situation was not because the scientists were not interested, but it became indispensable later on to collect relevant data from the far side of the moon as an essential part of the goal in the 2013-2022 Planetary Science Decadal Survey.

The moon is not tidally locked to the Earth. People from earth can view one portion of the moon. But it does not mean that the other side remains in the dark. It receives solar light when it is positioned between the sun and the Earth.

The far side involves the South-Pole Aitken basin, which is believed to be an impact site over 1553 miles stretched that depicts the deepest parts of the lunar crust. The large basin is considered to be the largest and also the oldest impact feature available on the moon’s surface. It is six times deeper than the Grand Canyon. The site on which the CE-4 will be landing will be the southern floor of the Von Karman crater. This crater is situated at 12 miles across the South-Aitken impact basin.