For 1st Time Ever, China Lands Spacecraft on Moon’s Dark Side
China says it has landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, a feat which has never been achieved by humanity before.
In a short announcement at the start of its noon news bulletin, China Central Television announced that the Chang'e 4 touched down at 10.26am on the surface of the moon which is always facing away from the Earth, also known as the dark side of the moon.
Previous missions have observed the far side of the moon, but none have ever landed on it. The Chinese state broadcaster said it had "lifted the mysterious veil" from the far side of the moon and "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration".
The probe made a successful "soft landing", state media said, and transmitted back the first-ever "close range" image of the dark side of the moon. The official Xinhua news agency posted a wide-angle colour picture of a crater from the moon's surface to its official microblog.
The probe, which includes a lander and a rover, touched down at a preselected landing area, Xinhua said, after it had entered the moon's orbit in mid-December.
The pioneering landing demonstrates China's growing ambitions as a space power. It aims to catch up with Russia and the US as a major force in the field by 2030, and is planning to begin construction of its own manned space station next year.
The US is so far the only country to have landed humans on the moon. President Donald Trump said in 2017 he wants to return astronauts to the lunar surface and establish a foundation there for an eventual mission to Mars.
Also in 2017, China said it too was making preparations to send a person to the moon.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team