China to become world’s first nation to land on dark side of the Moon | Science | News

One side of the Moon is always facing Earth thanks to the gravitational pull of tides on Earth, a process known as “tidal locking”.

No organisation has ever managed to send a probe to the other side of the Moon due to the communication difficulties it presents – signals would struggle to reach it from Earth meaning there would be a lack of communication.

However, China is now trying to overcome that feat and send a probe to the dark side of the Moon.

The mission comprises of two parts known collectively as Chang’e 4.

The first will see a relay satellite sent to the dark side of the Moon to establish a suitable communication link and will be launched in June.

Once the link has been established, China will then send a lander to the surface.

By achieving this, China will have beaten the achievements of the US and Russia and confirm Beijing as a major player in the space exploration game.

Brian Harvey, space analyst and author of China in Space: The Great Leap Forward, said: “The Chinese are pushing back the frontier with such a technically challenging mission.”

Zou Yongliao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ moon exploration department, has previously said by landing a probe there will “fill a void” in experts’ understanding of the universe.

This is because the dark side of the Moon has a “clean electromagnetic environment, which provides an ideal field for low frequency study. If we can place a frequency spectrograph on the far side, we can fill a void”.

Essentially, if a telescope is planted on the dark side of the Moon, it would block out stray signal interference from Earth.

This would give scientists an unprecedented view of outer space.

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