China shares first Chang’e-4 Lunar far side images

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A Chinese spacecraft has become to first to land on the dark side of the moon, according to state media.

The far side of the Moon is not visible from Earth.

Instruments on the lander and rover will study the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure of the area as well as perform low-frequency radio astronomical observation.

As China's space agency CNSA explains in a new post on its website, the Chang'e 4 lander arrived on schedule on the Moon's surface and quickly deployed the Yutu rover.

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The Chang'e 4 mission is a coup for China's ambitious lunar and space exploration programs.

CHINA achieved a world first yesterday when it landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon.

The lunar explorer Chang'e 4 touched down at 10:26 a.m., China Central Television said in a brief announcement at the top of its noon news broadcast.

China's state news agency, Xinhua, said the probe took a small plant called arabidopsis which is expected to produce the first flower on the moon.

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The Chang'e-4 mission took off for the moon just over a month ago, and reached orbit around the satellite on December 12. The Communist controlled Global Times also said the probe had "successfully made the first-ever soft landing" on the far side of the moon. The United States is hoping to return to the big cheese in the sky by 2023, but the spacecraft for the mission is not done yet and technical issues could push that date back, giving China an even bigger head start.

Chang'e-4 is carrying six experiments from China and four from overseas, including low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the moons' far side.

Fitted with cameras, ground-penetrating radar and other tools, Chang'e-4 was created to help scientists answer lingering questions about our moon's geologic past. But it is often called the dark side because it faces away from Earth and little is known about it. You can't send signals directly from the far side back to Earth because the surface points out into deep space. It has had a few setbacks, notably a Long March 5 rocket that plunged into the Pacific minutes after takeoff in July 2017.

Besides its civilian ambitions, China has tested anti-satellite missiles and the U.S. Congress has banned NASA from two-way cooperation with its Chinese counterpart over security concerns.

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"It's an important milestone for China's space exploration", Wu Weiren, chief designer of the lunar exploration program, noted.