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News – Chang's e-4 in China follows the historic landing on the far side of the moon



OUT OF THIS WORLD | What's in Space – take a look at the biggest news coming down on Earth from outer space

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist / scientific writer

Thursday, January 3, 2019, 16:58 – For the first time in the history of mankind, we have a superb look at how far on the moon's side, following the Chinese Lunar Descent Chan-e-4 and its rotor Yutu-2, still down early on Thursday morning.

It's hard to believe that it's almost 60 years since people were treated at our first glance on the far side of the moon.

In 1959, the Soviet Moon 3 probe assumed that first image and turned it into Earth. About 10 years later, US astronauts set up the first photos to print the dusty surface of the moon. Now, in 2019, China's space program has achieved its own history of lunar history, as it becomes the first nation to land a robotic mission on the far side of the moon.

Jia Yang, deputy chief designer of the Chang's Chang-e-4 investigation from the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST), called the turning point "the perfect display of human intelligence."


The picture on the far side of the moon, recorded by the Chinese Chang's "e-4 landing point" on the touchdown, on Thursday morning. On the left side is the edge of the physician's body, while on the right side of the carrier's leg, as well as the foot, partially immersed in the lunar regolith. Credit: CNSA / CLEP


The first color photograph was coming back from the surface of the far side of the Moon. The channel for deployment of the channels of Chang & # 39; e-4 took the picture, which shows the nearby powder of the crater, and the top of the rover is at the top. Credit: CNSA / CLEP

Why is this landing so important?

On
Astronomers of Apollo 8 demonstrated the problem on the far side of the moon quite well as they did about three orbits before going back after returning to Earth. Each time their spacecraft slipped over the feet of the moon, they were dropped into a radio silence from the Earth.

This becomes especially troublesome for everything that stays on the far side of the moon, which includes something that you put on the surface there. This is due to the fact that the moon is "tidily locked" on Earth, which means that due to its gravitational attraction to Earth, the time required for the moon to rotate once on its axis exactly matches the time taken to make an orbit around earth. Thus, the Moon always represents the same side of her face, and the other side of the Moon can not be seen from the Earth.

So, without a dedicated satellite placed in the right position out into space, any robot that has set itself on the mysterious far side would be completely out of touch with its controllers on Earth. Even if the robot could perfectly carry out all its operations and experiments, in itself, there will be no way to convey what is found at home. Her fate would be a complete mystery to us without any support.

Thus, given the resources that are not needed only for placing a lander or rover on the surface, but also for placing spacecraft far enough to act as a communication relay, the mission turns it into something much more expensive than setting something near near side, or placement of an orbiter around the moon.


See below, as shown by NASA's Lunar Scout Orbiter with full view of the nearby and far side of the Moon.

China launched its new mission in two to solve this problem.

They sent their new Queqiao satellite into space back in May, placing it in a circular "halo" orbit around Lagrange Point 2 in mid-June. Situated about 1.5 million kilometers outside the orbit of the Moon and beyond the Earth from the Sun, this allows Queqiao an excellent point of view to act as a communications relay on the far side of the Moon back on Earth.

With this key work, China then launched Chang's E-4, on the Long March 3B rocket, on December 8, 2018, for the target track on the far side of the Moon in the new year.

The port descended into the crusher Von Karman, in the southern hemisphere of the moon, at 11:26 am. ET, January 2, 2019 (10:26 am, Beijing time, January 3).

Von Kármán is a 160 km bumper crater, housed in a larger crater of 2,500 kilometers, known as the South Pole-Eatken Basin. This tremendous feature is the site of the ancient massive impact event, and although it is extensively painted from the orbit, this is the first time to be studied extensively from the surface.

Chang-e-4 carries the Yutu-2 Rover, which is scheduled shortly after landing, at 7:22 pm, ET, January 3, 2019 (6:22 am Peking time).


Chang's e-4 captured this image just before deploying its router, Yutu-2. In the picture are the wheel of the rover (left), the platform for the ground floor (bottom) and the ramps (down to the right). Credit: CNSA / CLEP


Yutu-2 rolled from Chang's e-4, and on the far side of the moon, at 2:22 PM UTC, January 3, 2019. Note that the deep shadows projected by the rover show that there is no real "dark side" of the moon. Today, only a tiny crescent moon is lit by the Earth, but most of the Moon's surface is lit to the farther. Credit: CNSA / CLEP

In addition, the ice carries live insect eggs and plant seeds in a sealed chamber for the biosphere to check how these organisms can survive with the kind of radiation exposure they receive on the surface of the moon. Chang's e-4 also has scientific instruments, including a spectrometer that will test the hypothesis that the far side of the moon is a great location for studying the universe through radio astronomy.

"The outer side of the moon is a rare quiet place that is without interference from radio signals from the Earth," said Chang's e-4 mission spokesman, Yu Gubin, according to a Chinese news agency Xinhua. "This probe can fill the void of low-frequency observations in radio astronomy and provide important information on the study of the origin of stars and the evolution of the nebula."

Sources:
PS / AP |
BBC |
Xinhua |
Project for Lunar Research in China
Planetary society

Connected with: the moon, hour-by-hour, for all 2019!

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