Prime News, International, Space Technology, Beijing (China), December 8:- China has launched a ground-breaking mission 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 US.
A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province in south-western China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
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 to sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.
If successful, the Chang’e 4 mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.
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. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)