The Chinese lunar and spacecraft Chang & # 39; e 4 could make the first attempt of humanity to follow the dark part of the moon between Tuesday and Thursday after entering the planned orbit on Sunday morning.
The Chinese Space Agency said its control center in Beijing would choose the appropriate time to try to land, but Smithsonian Institute, an American museum group and research centers, reported that the craft was expected to land on the Crater Crater at some point between 1 and 3 January.
The month-long flight was released to the Xichang Satellite Center in southern China on December 8 from the Long March 3B rocket and four days later entered the lunar orbit.
The outside of the moon – also known as the dark side, because it faces the Earth – remains relatively unknown, with a different composition from locations on the nearby side where the previous missions landed.
China rises in a pioneering journey to the far side of the moon
A soft landing on the far side is a challenge because any direct communication between the rover and the earth will be blocked from the other hemisphere.
To solve this problem, China launched a relay satellite, Queqiao (or Magpie Bridge), between the Earth and the Moon. Working around 400,000 kilometers from Earth, Queqiao will transmit signals to the lunar lander and the rover of Chang's 4.
According to the National Space Administration of China (CNSA), the country's control in Beijing has adjusted the orbit of the probe twice and tested the communication link between the probe and the relay satellite Queqiao. Imaging tools for the moon and detectors that are moving are also tested for landing.
Chang's scientific tasks include astronomical observation using radio frequencies, terrain and land forming, the discovery of the mineral composition and the shallow surface of the moon's surface, the measurement of neutron radiation and neutral atoms in order to create an understanding of the environment the moon's moon away from the site, CNSA said.
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The Lancer and the rover of Chang's 4 marked the completion of the second phase of the Chinese Moon Exploration Program (CLEP), one of the 16 key technologies identified by the Chinese government.
China will begin returning a spaceship called Chang's 5 to 2020 within the third and final phase of the plan. Chang's 5 will include a lunar port and rover that could return to Earth after collecting samples and carrying satellite surveys on the planet, according to the CREP.
From Mao's Covenant to Xi's "Space Dream", China takes another step on its long march to the moon
Before Chang's 4 came Yutu, Chang's lunar rover, which landed on the moon in December 2013. But Yutu (or Jade Rabbit) stopped moving because of a mechanical problem about 40 days after landing there.
"The design of the lunar rover Chang 4 is improved on the basis of the previous one, which means it can work for at least several years on the moon," said Vue Weiren, chief designer of CLEP in August.