According to the official Xinhua news agency, the Chinese space probe for the first time moves to a position that allows it to land on the dark side of the moon. This mission is seen as an important step, as the country hopes to promote its space program.
The Chang'e-4 probe went into the planned orbit on Sunday, “to prepare for the first soft landing at the far end of the moon,” a news agency reported on Sunday, citing the National Space Administration of China.
It was not said when the landing will occur.
The moon is tidal attached to the Earth and rotates at the same speed as on our planet, so the reverse side – or the "dark side" – is never visible from Earth. Previous spacecraft had seen the opposite side of the moon, but no one landed on it.
Earlier this month, China launched the probe Chang & # 39; e-4 on a Long March-3B launch vehicle. It includes a landing gear and an all-terrain vehicle to explore the surface of the moon.
Xinhua said that the probe entered an elliptical lunar orbit at 8:15 am Beijing time (11.55 am AEDT), which led him to its nearest point just 15 kilometers from the lunar surface. Chang'e-4 first entered lunar orbit on December 12.
The tasks of Chang & # 39; e-4 include astronomical observations, the study of the terrain, the structure of the terrain and the mineral composition of the moon, as well as the measurement of neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon.
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China seeks to catch up with Russia and the United States in order to become the main space power by 2030. Next year he plans to start building his own manned space station.
However, although China insists that its ambitions are purely peaceful in nature, the US Department of Defense accused it of taking actions to prevent other countries from using space assets during the crisis.
The space control center will choose the "appropriate time" for landing the probe on the far side of the moon, Xinhua said. His descent helps satellite relay, Queqiao or Forty-bridge.