China prepares for landing of lunar probe Chang'e 4

Katie Ramirez
January 3, 2019

BEIJING-China's Chang'e-4 probe entered a planned orbit Sunday morning to prepare for the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced.

The landing is expected to take place on Thursday and is another critical step in the country's ambitions to challenge USA and Russian dominance in space. The Chang'e 4 spacecraft is slated to arrive on the far side of the Moon within the first few days of the new year, and it'll be a major "first" for the country.

Although this is not the first attempt to shed light on the dark side of the moon, all previous expeditions have only seen it without ever landing on it. The difficulties are according to observers, especially in the country of maneuvers: The terrain on the moon's back is less flat than on the earth-facing side.

Queqiiao satellite is now stationed in an operational orbit about 64,800 kilometres beyond the Moon.

But the Smithsonian Institute, the American museums and research centres group, has today reportedly claimed the Chang'e 4 is expected to touch down on the Von Karman crater landing point between tomorrow and January 3.

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The probe is communicating with Earth via the Queqiiao relay satellite, which was launched in May to enable communication between the ground controllers and the Chang'e-4 probe. Mares are large, dark, basaltic plains on Earth's Moon, formed by ancient volcanic eruptions.

Whatever else 2019 may bring, there's a host of rare astronomical events on tap in the coming 12 months, starting in January. "This mission could pave the way for more serious development on that side".

They were dubbed maria, Latin for "seas".

Although we will see multiple meteor showers through the year, the Eta Aquarids meteor shower will be one of the best ones we will be able to witness, Sky & Telescope reports. The mare basalt represents scientist's best look at the moon's overall composition and its mantle, the layer between the core and crust. With the launch of Chang'e-4's lander, it was said that the rover has marked with the completion of the second phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme (CLEP).

China's ground control center has trimmed the spacecraft's orbit twice since December 12, when Chang'e-4 entered the lunar orbit, and tested the communication link between Chang'e-4 and the relay satellite Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge. "We should be able to identify the lander and rover tracks if not the rover itself", Robinson said.

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