China space mission lands on Moon's far side
Published: 11:05 AM, 3 January 2019 Updated: 11:05 AM, 3 January 2019
Daily Bangladesh Desk
China says it has successfully landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, the first ever such landing.
The unmanned Chang'e-4 probe touched down in the South Pole-Aitken basin at 10:26 am local time (2:26 am GMT), state media said.
It is carrying instruments to characterise the region's geology, as well as a biological experiment.
State media called the landing "a major milestone in space exploration".
While past missions have been to the earth-facing side, this is the first time a craft has landed on the unexplored far side.
In recent days, the Chang'e-4 spacecraft had lowered its orbit in preparation for landing.
At the weekend, Chinese state media said the probe had entered an elliptical path around the Moon, bringing the vehicles to within 15km (9 miles) of the lunar surface at its closest point.
Targeting the far side has turned this mission into a riskier and more complex venture than its predecessor, Chang'e-3 - which touched down in the Moon's Mare Imbrium region in 2013.
But China's latest moon shot will pave the way for the country to deliver samples of lunar rock and dust to Earth.
Ahead of the landing, Andrew Coates, professor of physics at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey, told the BBC: "This daring mission will land nearly 50 years on from the historic Apollo landings and will be followed in late 2019 by a Chinese sample return mission." - BBC
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