Chinese spacecraft is first to land on far side of moon

China just landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon: state media

China’s lunar probe becomes first spacecraft to land on far side of the moon

A Chinese spacecraft has made the first-ever landing on the far side of the Moon.

"Chang'e-4 is humanity's first probe to land on and explore the far side of the moon", said the mission's chief commander He Rongwei of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the main state-owned space contractor.

In 2013, Chang'e 3 was the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976.

Chinese state media said at the time that the area being targeted was the Aitken Basin in the lunar south pole region and 10 experiments would be performed - six from China and four from other countries.

Unlike the near side of the moon that always faces the earth and offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged.

One of those experiments is a biosphere project, which includes silkworm eggs, thale cress and potato seeds. All lunar landing probes to date travelled only to the near side, since it is easier to establish and maintain direct radio communication with the entire near side of the moon. The rover will also test minerals and radiation.

Chang'e 4 was launched atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket on December 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan province. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon but none have landed on it.

The move marks a global first that would boost Beijing's ambitions to become a space superpower, state media said.

It would also like to develop a moon base through several manned missions.

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