See More on Facebook

Culture and society, Curiosity

China lands probe on far side of the moon

It is the first manmade probe to land on the far side.


Written by

Updated: January 4, 2019

Humankind’s lunar exploration history saw the opening of a new chapter on Thursday morning as the world’s first explorer of the moon’s far side landed at its destination after a 26-day space journey.

The Chang’e 4 lunar probe, the latest step in China’s endeavor to explore the silver sphere, landed at 10:26 on the Von Karman crater in the South Pole-Aitken basin and then sent back a picture of the landing site shot by one of the monitor cameras on the probe’s lander, marking the world’s first image taken on the moon’s far side.

The picture, published by the China National Space Administration, shows the place where Chang’e 4’s rover will be heading to roam and survey.

The successful landing formally inaugurated the world’s first expedition to the far side that never faces the Earth and is expected to fulfill scientists’ long-held aspiration to closely observe the enormous region.

Tidal forces on Earth slow the moon’s rotation to the point where the same side always faces Earth. The other side, most of which is never visible from Earth, is the far side of the moon. Though the far side has been extensively photographed by spacecraft, starting with a Soviet probe in 1959, no probe had ever made a soft landing onto it, so scientists around the world had not been able to conduct close observations and surveys of the region for decades.

The probe conducted rapid position adjustments when it reached to an altitude 6 to 8 km above the moon. The descent then paused for a while at an altitude of about 100 meters as the spacecraft needed to detect and analyze the inclination as well as possible obstacles at its preset landing site so it could autonomously avoid hazards.

Chang’e 4 was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket on Dec 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China’s Sichuan province.

It consists of two parts – a lander and a rover, and the two carry eight mission instruments including two jointly designed by Chinese scientists and their counterparts in Sweden and Germany.

With its investigation into the far side, particularly the Von Karman crater, the Chang’e 4 mission will enable scientists to discover what they haven’t known about the moon and deepen their knowledge about the early histories of the satellite and the solar system.

Researchers also can take advantage of the far side’s shield against Earth’s interference to make clearer observations into deep space, scientists involved in the program expect.

Chang’e 4 is the fourth lunar probe China has launched since the country’s lunar program was opened in 2004.

Named after the goddess of the moon in Chinese legends, the first Chang’e spacecraft was launched in October 2007 to verify China’s lunar probe technology, obtain lunar images and perform scientific surveys. The Chang’e 2 followed in October 2010 to carry out high-definition imaging of the moon and investigate landing conditions for the Chang’e 3. Chang’e 3, lifted in December 2013, was a milestone in the country’s space exploration history because of its status as the first Chinese spacecraft to land on the moon and also the first man-made craft to touch down on the lunar surface in nearly four decades. Chang’e 3 released the first Chinese lunar rover, Yutu, on the moon. Yutu worked there for around 1,000 days.

A simulated landing process of Chang’e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 3, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

 

A simulated landing process of Chang’e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 3, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

 

A simulated landing process of Chang’e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 3, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

 

Technicians celebrate after the landing of Chang’e-4 lunar probe, at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 3, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

 

Technicians work at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) in Beijing, capital of China, Jan 3, 2019. 


Enjoyed this story? Share it.


China Daily
About the Author: China Daily covers domestic and world news through nine print editions and digital media worldwide.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Culture and society, Curiosity

After 19 yrs, polio back in PH

The anti-vaxxer movement has done it again. The Philippines is in the midst of a polio epidemic 19 years after it was declared polio-free, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced on Thursday. Polio is a crippling and at times fatal infectious disease. (See In the Know.) Duque said a single confirmed case signaled an epidemic in a once polio-free country. He said a 3-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur was diagnosed with a vaccine-derived polio virus type 2. The Department of Health (DOH) is awaiting confirmation of a suspected case of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). Rabindra Abeyasinghe, country representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), noted that the type 2 polio virus had not been in circulation for many years and was certified eliminated in the Philippines. Metro Manila, Davao “[S]o the vaccination program that the DOH and other co


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 20, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity

India bans e-cigarettes

The decision has been met with criticism and charges of favouritism. The Union Cabinet’s move on Wednesday clearing an ordinance for banning production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes and proposing a jail term and fine for its violators evoked mixed reactions among a section of Delhi doctors and other stakeholders. The Centre’s decision was slammed by trade bodies and certain stakeholders related to e-cigarettes, who reportedly alleged that it was a “draconian” move taken hastily in the interest of the conventional cigarette industry. They also charged that the government was depriving people of a safer alternative to smoking. Dr Gyandeep Mangal, senior consultant in Respiratory Medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, said, “We are glad with the ban on e-cigarettes by Union Cabinet as these are as harmful as regular cigarettes. It is true that e-cigarette doesn


By The Statesman
September 19, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity

Hey men, women don’t want to be told to be like a woman

Nepali women still grapple with sexist language and expressions that most men easily dismiss. Throughout her time as a Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police, Bimala Thapa was referred to as “Sir” by her subordinates. She tried several times, during her initial days in the role, to explain to officers that she would prefer to be referred to as “madam”— not sir. But she eventually gave up and stopped correcting people. “It seemed futile to discuss the issue because even those who should have understood why it matters treated it lightly,” says Thapa, whose superiors would also acknowledge her as sir. “Many probably don’t see why this is demeaning, but it used to feel like they thought that those in power were always supposed to be men.” It’s no surprise that Nepali society s


By The Kathmandu Post
September 19, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity

What happens when the Indus doesn’t reach the sea?

The Indus Delta was once prosperous, today, it is home to suffering, despondency and death. The Indus River, the vertebra of our country, runs 3,200 kilometres in total and, if cared for, is capable of providing sustenance to all, from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea. But without the release of freshwater into the Indus, the coastal region of Pakistan is running dry. The fifth-largest delta in the world is shrinking. A delta is formed at the mouth of a river, when the river sheds its sediment load, before meeting a slower moving water body such as an ocean, sea, lake and sometimes another river. The currents of a fast moving river eventually become weak, making it difficult for the river to carry its sediment load any further. The sediment is then dropped at a delta, making it a highly fertile area, before the river concludes its journey by joining another water body. The Indus Delta,


By Dawn
September 19, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity

Challenges loom for Asia’s digital landscape

An overview of digital strategies across Asia in light of the first ever annual Digital Economy Report released by UNCTAD last week. Last week, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released its first ever annual Digital Economy Report (2019). It came at a time when countries across Asia have been grappling with a complex digital future. Digital technologies help cut costs, enable delivery of services without leakages, reduce opportunities for graft, promote ease of doing business, leverage an increasingly non-tactile world, grow economies, have the potential to create millions of new jobs and, it appears, even help fight fake news. On the flip side, there are concerns of the cost of the emerging digital economy in terms of loss of traditional employment sectors, eroding the right to privacy, abetting authoritarian state-control of citizens’ lives, causing a s


By Ishan Joshi
September 19, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity

8 Coast Guard personnel found guilty in death of Taiwanese fisherman

The case stems from an incident in 2013. The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 15 has found eight members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) guilty in the death of Taiwanese fisherman Hong Shi Cheng off  Batanes in 2013. Found guilty were Commanding Officer Arnold Dela Cruz, Seaman 1st Class (SN1) Edrando Aguila, SN1 Mhelvin Bendo II, SN1 Andy Gibb Golfo, SN1 Sonny Masangcay, SN1 Henry Solomon, SN1 Richard Corpuz and Seaman 2nd Class Nicky Renold Aurelio. The incident strained the relationship between Taiwan and the Philippines.As a result of the incident, the Taiwanese government has stopped the issuance of visas to Filipinos workers seeking jobs in Taiwan. The Philippines sent a representative and delivered the government’s official letter of apology to soothe the strained relations. The PCG in 2013 said its personnel acted in self defense when it opened fire at Taiwanese fishing ve


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 18, 2019