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First ever image from Moon's far side revealed

Posted on Thursday, 3 January, 2019 | Comment icon 28 comments

This image reveals, for the first time, an unexplored region of the Moon's far side. Image Credit: CNSA
China's Chang'e 4 spacecraft has made history by being the first ever to touch down on the far side of the Moon.
Hailed by China's state-run media as a giant leap for human space exploration, the mission saw a successful touchdown in the South Pole-Aitken basin - an impact crater 2,500km in diameter.

During its time there, the probe will take samples and explore the immediate vicinity with a rover. By analyzing the surface material, it is hoped that it can also learn more about the Moon's formation.

For China however, the success of the mission is as much political as it is scientific.

"There's a lot of geopolitics or astropolitics about this, it's not just a scientific mission, this is all about China's rise as a superpower," said defense analyst Malcolm Davis.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm for the space program in China. There's a lot of nationalism in China, they see China's role in space as a key part of their rise."

It is believed that China currently intends to land humans on the Moon by the year 2030.

If that's true, we could see a whole new space race take shape over the next few years.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (28)

Tags: Moon, China

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 5 January, 2019, 11:19
As someone that have worked in retail I can assure you that when people say "There are no stupid questions" they are wrong.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Peter B on 5 January, 2019, 11:40
Don't worry. The concept of a halo orbit is, to me at least, spectacularly unintuitive. However, the interesting thing for me is that someone proposed using a halo orbit to NASA back in 1968 in exactly this way to allow an Apollo mission to land on the far side of the Moon. I already knew that once he'd been selected as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 17, geologist Jack Schmitt proposed a landing on the far side, most likely completely aware of the 1968 proposal. Part of the reason for his proposal was to try to re-ignite public interest in Apollo - sadly it seems he was a couple of decades ahea... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 5 January, 2019, 11:52
Indeed the idea that a satellite is orbiting a mathematical point in space rather than a real object is not an easy to grasp concept.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Derek Willis on 5 January, 2019, 13:05
Well, it is isn't really a "mathematical point in space". It is a point in space with particular gravitational conditions.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Peter B on 5 January, 2019, 23:07
That's true, but the intuitive deion of an orbit means something in regular motion around a Thing - a star, a planet, a moon or an asteroid/comet - not an empty point in space. After all, think of the SOHO spacecraft: it's located at the Sun-Earth L1 point, but it's still very clearly orbiting the Sun. In the case of Queqiao, sure, it's orbiting the Earth like the Moon does, but it's not located at the Earth-Moon L2 point. Even as I explain it, and understand it intellectually, it's still strange.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Derek Willis on 6 January, 2019, 10:28
An "orbit" is the behavior of an object within a gravitational field. For instance, not all orbits are "closed" - i.e. elliptical. Some are "open" - i.e. parabolic or hyperbolic, depending on the velocity of the object in relation to the strength of the gravitational field. It may be that more than one gravitational field is at play, which is the case with the Lagrangian points in the Earth-Moon system. It is the net value of the gravitational fields that matter. So, there can be a location in "empty space" around which an object can move in a closed orbit. However, the space is not "empty" - ... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by ChrLzs on 6 January, 2019, 21:29
Drifting a bit offtopic, but this may be useful to someone... I totally agree that the concept of orbiting a 'non-mass' is a bit weird.  But I'll also confess to being completely baffled (yes, I said it!) by Lagrange points when I first encountered them some years back (when I was learning about the SOHO / Stereo spacecraft) - I was OK with L1, L2, and L3, but L4 and L5, off to the sides?????  From the Wiki, here's a picture... I did finally have the AHA!!! moment, when I realised that this is not a static diagram - it's a rotating frame of reference, so centripetal/centrifugal forces come int... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 6 January, 2019, 22:31
There are  many Lagrange point in the Solar system. All of the planets have langrange points in their orbit around the Sun. The Earth-Sun L4 point even have its own little asteroid hanging around. It have the exiting name of 2010TK7.  
Comment icon #27 Posted by kapow53 on 7 January, 2019, 3:03
So what about all those alien moon bases?  I guess we'll be hearing from the conspiracy people soon.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Emma_Acid on 7 January, 2019, 14:12
There are no such things as stupid questions, only stupid answers.

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