Get ready to learn more about the far side of the Moon, better known as the “dark side” of the Moon, which is not really dark. The word “dark” hints at the fact that it is the side that we never saw or never explored, until now.
Thanks to a Chinese spacecraft called Chang’e 4, we will be able to learn something about the unknown face of the moon. Meanwhile, the team behind this project will hit a milestone for space exploration.
Chang’e 4 is a robotic probe that was sent around the moon this past weekend, entering an elliptical path and getting 15 km close to the lunar surface. Until now, the mission control in China has not confirmed when the probe will land on the moon, but reports from the media suggest it might be on Thursday morning (UK time).
Until now, spacecraft did snap a few photos of the far side of the moon, but touching down on that side is a first. Because the side of the moon faces away from Earth, communications cannot be direct, and all the messages to and from Chang’e 4 must be done through the Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) satellite which is on the other side of the moon in a “halo orbit.”
Paving “the Way For More Serious Development”
The probe will take measurements of the lunar terrain and analyze mineral composition. It will land in the Aitken basin, which is believed to have formed when the moon was hit by something gigantic, making it throw up material from inside. This means that the probe could learn more about the formation of the Moon.
Also, adding a telescope on the far side of the moon would be great for astronomy. A telescope placed there will be able to pick up sensitive radio bursts from the sun or signals from deep space that are too faint to be picked up by other satellites. University College London’ space scientist, Lucie Green, said:
“You’re completely shielded from all the emissions that we produce on Earth so you can get data that we couldn’t get elsewhere. There’s been a lot of talk over the years of the potential of having a telescope on the far side. This mission could pave the way for more serious development on that side.”
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere