China is the only country apart from the mighty US and Russia to have landed a spacecraft on the lunar surface. They seem all set to become the first ones to do what no one has ever done before- send a satellite (albeit unmanned) to the dark side of the moon.
As the Chinese space program gets more ambitious, they announced their plans to land an unmanned lunar probe on the farther side of the moon, and thus become the first country to do so before 2020. The primary objective of the mission named Chang’e 4 (after a mythical goddess) would be to study the geological conditions on the hitherto unexplored part of the lunar surface, shared Zou Yongliao from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ moon exploration department.
Being shielded from radio transmissions from Earth, the far side of the moon would make it an ideal location for placing sensitive instruments and could even lead to a radio telescope being placed there for use by astronomers. If placed, a radio telescope
“The Chinese space program has demonstrated that they can land on the moon and build communications satellites. So their goal to land on the far side of the moon by 2020 is certainly feasible,” said astronomer Michael Brown while talking to Al Jazeera.
The next lunar mission of the Asian giant is scheduled for 2017. It plans to send an unmanned satellite to the moon, to come back to Earth with samples of lunar soil and rocks. If successful, this would make China the third country in the world to carry out the manoeuvre, after the US and Russia.