China launched a mission to the dark side of the moon

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A rocket carrying the probe took off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 2.33 am local time (2.03 am Indian Standard Time) on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ten experiments - six from China and four from overseas - include planting potatoes and other seeds.

The unprecedented mission to attempt a landing on the far side of the Moon lifted off atop an enhanced Long March 3B launch vehicle at 18:23 UTC Friday (02:23 Beijing time Saturday).

China has launched a lunar rover on a historic mission to explore the dark side of the moon, with the potential to make revolutionary discoveries about the possibility of extraplanetary life. It will also test the ability to make radio astronomy observations from the moon's far side, sans the noise effects from Earth. Scientists have speculated about a number of uses for the far side of the moon, including setting up radio telescopes.

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The Moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side is never visible from Earth.

The previous model of the lunar rover completed a successful 972 day mission in early 2016, a mission which made China the third nation in history to successful reach the moon.

China's space effort launched its most ambitious robotic lunar mission to date, taking aim at a crater near the south pole on the moon's far side.

As a solution, China in May blasted the Queqiao ("Magpie Bridge") satellite into the moon's orbit, positioning it so that it can relay data and commands between the lander and earth. It also carries seeds as part of a "miniature biosphere" experiment to grow vegetables in the lunar soil.

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Rover Utah that was part of the mission "Chang'e-3", explored the satellite in 2013. The Von Kármán Crater is a 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) hole on the moon's surface - it is also the mission's expected landing site.

The instruments on the rover and lander consist of special cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers to help ascertain the composition of rocks and dirt on the back side of the moon.

It successfully performed a burn to send the Chang'e-4 spacecraft to trans-lunar injection shortly after. Some of these plans include a reusable launcher by 2021, a super-powerful rocket capable of delivering payloads heavier than those NASA and SpaceX can handle, a moon base, a permanently crewed space station, and a Mars rover.

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