An unmanned probe from China called Chang’e-4 has just landed on the moon in the Von Kármán crater, the first spacecraft to soft land on the far side of the moon. Contrary to popular belief, the far side of the moon, while always facing away from the earth, is not always dark. Both sides of the Moon experience two-weeks of sunlight followed by two weeks of night. So far, the probe has sent back this one color image below. I hope we get to see more soon. It is also fun to me that the CNSA logo (upper left) looks like a Star Trek copy.
This logo thing has been commented on before:
Here is some video.
The next one is a simulation video of the probe landing. The computer model in this video is supposedly based on real telemetric data from the lander sensors.
Humanity just planted its flag on the far side of the moon.
China’s robotic Chang’e 4 mission touched down on the floor of the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater Wednesday night (Jan. 2), pulling off the first-ever soft landing on the mysterious lunar far side.
Chang’e 4 will perform a variety of science work over the coming months, potentially helping scientists better understand the structure, formation and evolution of Earth’s natural satellite. But the symbolic pull of the mission will resonate more with the masses: The list of unexplored locales in our solar system just got a little shorter. [China’s Chang’e 4 Moon Far Side Mission in Pictures]
The epic touchdown — which took place at 9:26 p.m. EST (0226 GMT and 10:26 a.m. Beijing time on Jan. 3), according to Chinese space officials — followed closely on the heels of two big NASA spaceflight milestones. On Dec. 31, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft entered orbit around the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, and the New Horizons probe zoomed past the distant object Ultima Thule just after midnight on Jan. 1.
Later this year, China is expected to launch another lunar lander, Chang’e-5, with its own rover to bring back samples.
The six-wheeled lunar rover will probe the lunar surface and transmit photographs to Earth. The mission also encompasses a biological experiment, to assess whether seeds can germinate and silkworm larvae can hatch and grow in a sealed container containing nutrients, water and air.
Chang’e-4 also carries German and Swedish research equipment to study radiation and lunar wind. It is also expected to experiment with conducting low frequency radio astronomy observations free of interference from Earth.
In July of 2016, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics senior astrophysicist, Martin Elvis, sounded the alarm of how an unfriendly power – the China for example – could seize control of an important piece of the Moon. They could do it legally by exploiting provisions of the Outer Space Treaty, that bars any nation — and by extension, corporation — from owning property on a celestial body, but a loophole in the treaty may amount to the same thing, warns Elvis.
Unlike the Earth, which is tilted so the poles are in six months of darkness and six months of light, the moon is almost perfectly aligned with its orbit around the sun. Because of the way the moon tilts, these peaks are bathed in sunlight for most if not all of the time, which means you can have an almost continuous power supply, ideal for a photovoltaic power station.
This part of the moon would be perfect places to erect solar power stations that would support mining operations in the nearby craters, where water and other valuable resources such as helium 3 have been deposited over billions of years. …
I hope we get some great high definition color video at some point.