China aims to land probe on dark side of moon

BEIJING • China is planning to land a lunar probe on the far side of the moon, state media reported, the latest step for Beijing's ambitious space programme.

The mission will be launched before 2020 and aims to land a probe on a part of the moon never visible from earth, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing officials at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The far side of the moon has been seen by previous probes, but no country has attempted a landing.

The goal will be to study low frequency radio waves and geological conditions, according to the Xinhua report.

The mission, named Chang'e 4, follows the Chang'e 3, which landed a rover dubbed Yutu on the moon in 2013. That made China the third nation after the United States and Soviet Union to land on the earth's only natural satellite.

Chang'e is the name of the moon goddess in Chinese mythology and Yutu is her pet rabbit.

China completed its first return mission to the moon last year.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2015, with the headline 'China aims to land probe on dark side of moon'. Print Edition | Subscribe