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Chinese space mission blasts off for the far side of the moon…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: December 09, 2018, 02:02:41 pm »


from The Seattle Times…

China launches pioneering mission to far side of moon

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN | 9:51PM PST — Thursday, December 06, 2018

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the Chang'e 4 lunar probe launches from the the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday, December 8, 2018. China launched a ground-breaking mission Saturday to soft-land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and U.S. — Photograph: Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/via Associated Press.
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the Chang'e 4 lunar probe launches from the the Xichang
Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday, December 8, 2018. China
launched a ground-breaking mission Saturday to soft-land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far
side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European
Union and U.S. — Photograph: Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/via Associated Press.


BEIJING (Associated Press) — China launched a ground-breaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S.

A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

With its Chang'e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to make a soft landing, which is a landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred. The moon's far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.


In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the Chang'e 4 lunar probe launches from the the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday, December 8, 2018. — Photograph: Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/via Associated Press.
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the Chang'e 4 lunar probe launches from the the Xichang
Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday, December 8, 2018.
 — Photograph: Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/via Associated Press.


China landed its Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang'e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration.

Chang'e 4 is also a lander-rover combination and will explore both above and below the lunar surface after arriving at the South Pole-Aitken basin's Von Karman crater following a 27-day journey.

It will also perform radio-astronomical studies that, because the far side always faces away from Earth, will be “free from interference from our planet's ionosphere, human-made radio frequencies and auroral radiation noise,” space industry expert Leonard David wrote on the website Space.com.

It may also carry plant seeds and silkworm eggs, according to Xinhua.

Chang'e is the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology.


In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the Chang'e 4 lunar probe launches from the the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday, December 8, 2018. — Photograph: Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/via Associated Press.
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the Chang'e 4 lunar probe launches from the the Xichang
Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday, December 8, 2018.
 — Photograph: Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/via Associated Press.


China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, making it only the third country after Russia and the U.S. to do so. It has put a pair of space stations into orbit, one of which is still operating as a precursor to a more than 60-ton station that is due to come online in 2022. The launch of a Mars rover is planned for the mid-2020s.

To facilitate communication between controllers on Earth and the Chang'e 4 mission, China in May launched a relay satellite named Queqiao, or “Magpie Bridge,” after an ancient Chinese folk tale.

China's space program has benefited from cooperation with Russia and European nations, although it was excluded from the 420-ton International Space Station, mainly due to U.S. legislation barring such cooperation amid concerns over its strong military connections. Its program also suffered a rare setback last year with the failed launch of its Long March 5 rocket.


__________________________________________________________________________

Christopher Bodeen writes for the Associated Press.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/china-prepares-mission-to-land-spacecraft-on-moons-far-side
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2018, 10:53:20 pm »


from The New York Times…

China's Chang'e-4 Launches on Mission to the Moon's Far Side

If the mission is successful, the spacecraft would be the first in human history to land on the moon's far side.

By KENNETH CHANG | Friday, December 07, 2018

China hopes to send its Chang'e-4 lunar lander to the far side of the moon, shown here illuminated by the sun in an image captured by NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite. — Illustration: NASA Goddard.
China hopes to send its Chang'e-4 lunar lander to the far side of the moon, shown here illuminated by the sun in an image captured by NASA's
Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite. — Illustration: NASA Goddard.


CHINA is aiming to go where no one has gone before: the far side of the moon.

A rocket carrying the Chang'e-4 lunar lander blasted off at about 2:23 a.m. local time on Saturday from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China. (In the United States, it was still midday Friday). Chinese authorities did not broadcast the launch, but an unofficial live stream recorded near the site showed the rocket rise from the launchpad until its flames looked like a bright star in the area's dark skies.

Nearly one hour later, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency reported that Chang'e-4 had successfully launched.

Exactly when it will set down at its destination has not yet been announced — possibly in early January — but Chang'e-4 will provide the first close-up look at a part of the moon that is eternally out of view from Earth.


What is Chang'e-4?

Chang'e-4 includes two main parts: the main lander weighing about 2,400 pounds and a 300-pound rover. By comparison, NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars weighs about 400 pounds, and the Curiosity rover there is much bigger, at 2,000 pounds.

The spacecraft is largely a clone of Chang'e-3, which landed on the moon in 2013. Indeed, Chang'e-4 was built as the backup in case the first attempt failed. With the success — the first soft landing of any spacecraft on the moon since 1976 — the Chinese outfitted Chang'e-4 with a different set of instruments and decided to send it to a different location.


Where is Chang'e-4 going?

The rover will land in the 110-mile-wide Von Kármán crater. It is on the far side of the moon, which is always facing away from Earth. (The moon is what planetary scientists call “tidally locked” to the rotation of the Earth. That is, its period of rotation — its day — is the same as the time it takes to make one orbit around Earth.)

The crater is within an area known as the South Pole-Aitken basin, a gigantic, 1,600-mile-wide crater at the bottom of the moon, which has a mineralogy distinct from other locations. That may reflect materials from the inside of the moon that were brought up by the impact that created the basin.

The far side is also considerably more mountainous than the near side for reasons not yet understood.


What will Chang'e-4 study?

The suite of instruments on the rover and the lander include cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers to help identify the composition of rocks and dirt in the area. And China's space agency has collaborated with other countries. One instrument was developed at Kiel University in Germany; another was provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.

The instruments will probe the structure of the rocks beneath the spacecraft and study the effects of the solar wind striking the lunar surface. Chang'e-4 will also test the ability of making radio astronomy observations from the far side of the moon, without the effects of noise and interference from Earth.

According to the Xinhua news agency, Chang'e-4 is also carrying an intriguing biology experiment to see if plant seeds will germinate and silkworm eggs will hatch in the moon's low gravity.


China launched a relay satellite named Queqiao in May, which will beam messages between Earth and the Chang’e-4 lander. — Photograph: Cai Yang/XinHua/via Associated Press.
China launched a relay satellite named Queqiao in May, which will beam messages between
Earth and the Chang'e-4 lander. — Photograph: Cai Yang/XinHua/via Associated Press.


How will the spacecraft communicate with Earth?

Because the moon blocks radio signals from our planet, the Chinese launched a satellite, called Queqiao, in May. It is circling high over the far side of the moon, and will relay messages between Earth and the Chang'e-4 lander.

When will Chang'e-4 land on the moon?

China's space agency has not announced a landing date, though some expect that will be the first week of January, when the sun will be shining over the far side of the moon, an important consideration because Chang'e-4 is solar-powered.

Zhang Xiaoping, an associate professor from Space Science Institute/Lunar and Planetary Science Laboratory of Macau University of Science and Technology, said that the spacecraft would follow the Chang'e-3's trajectory. That means it would arrive in three to five days and then orbit the moon for several days (13 in the case of Chang'e-3) while preparing for the landing, he said.


Wait, I thought the far side of the moon was dark.

The far side is not dark all of the time.

The first new moon of 2019 is January 6. That's when you cannot see the moon because the dark side — the side that is in shadow facing away from the sun — is facing Earth. And when the near side of the moon is dark, the far side is awash in bright sunshine.


Why is China so secretive about all of this?

Chinese officials have talked about Chang'e-4 in public, but their interactions with journalists more resemble the carefully managed strategy used by the Soviet program during the Cold War rather than the more open publicity by NASA and many other space agencies. That way, the Chinese, like the Soviets, could boast about the successes and downplay any failures.

What does Chang'e mean?

In Chinese mythology, Chang'e is the goddess of the moon. Other missions have been named after her, too.

Chang'e-1 and Cang'e-2 went into orbit around the moon but did not land. Chang'e-1 was launched in 2007. Chang'e-2 followed in 2010.

The next step in China's moon program is for the Chang'e-5 robotic spacecraft to land on the moon and then bring rock samples back to Earth for additional study.

Chang'e-5 was supposed to head to the moon before Chang'e-4, but a launch failure of the large Chinese rocket needed to carry it to space delayed the mission until at least 2019.


Who else is planning to go to the moon?

Next year, the Indian government is planning to launch a mission, Chandrayaan-2, that includes an orbiter, a lander and a rover. SpaceIL, an Israeli team that was a finalist in the Google Lunar X Prize, is also still aiming to send a robotic lander to the moon early next year, even though the $20 million prize has expired.

NASA announced last week that nine companies will compete for robotic missions to carry science experiments to the moon. The space agency said the first of those could go as early as 2019, but most of the companies said they would not be ready until 2021.

Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator, has praised the Chang'e-4 mission as exciting, and at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany in October, talked of possible collaboration with the Chinese space agency. Federal laws limit any NASA interaction with the Chinese.




__________________________________________________________________________

Zoe Mou contributed reporting to this article from Beijing.

Kenneth Chang has been a science reporter at The New York Times since 2000. He covers chemistry, geology, solid state physics, nanotechnology, Pluto, plague and other scientific miscellany. Before joining The Times, Mr. Chang was a science writer for ABCNews.com from 1997 to 2000. In the summer of 1997, he covered science news for The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, and from 1996 to 1997 he reported on education news for Greenwich Time in Greenwich, Connecticut. From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Chang was also a freelance writer, writing for the Baltimore Sun, Newsday, San Diego Union-Tribune, Science, United Press International and Santa Cruz County Sentinel. He began his reporting career, after abandoning his Ph.D. physics studies, interning at the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Chang has also worked as a research programmer for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Champaign, Illinois. Born in Philadelphia in 1965, Mr. Chang graduated cum laude with a B.A. in physics from Princeton University in 1987. He also received an M.S. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1988 and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1995. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and three children.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Saturday, December 8, 2018, on Page A5 of the New York print edition with the headline: “China Launches Mission to Far (but Not Always Dark) Side of the Moon”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

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 • Meet SpaceX’s First Moon Voyage Customer, Yusaku Maezawa

 • If No One Owns the Moon, Can Anyone Make Money Up There?

 • As Rover Lands, China Joins Moon Club


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/science/china-moon-change-4.html
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2018, 05:47:44 am »

commie scum go home

the aliens will either tell them to fuck off or destroy their mission

just a guess lol
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