China is going to Land on the Dark side of the Moon

China is going to Land on the Dark side of the Moon

Humans are on-track for analyzing the far side of Earth’s Moon.

Scientists are exploring all parts of our solar system following the advancement of technology. Different missions are being sent to various places like Europa (the moon of Jupiter), Mars, and as far as Pluto. All these missions clearly indicate that humanity wants to search everywhere around it but it seems highly unlikely given the unimaginable size of our universe. Humans began their space exploration with Moon but there is a whole lot of things that we still need to know about our nearest neighbor.

We hardly have any information about the far side of our Moon as all of the previous missions examined its near side. The latest Chinese mission called ‘Magpie Bridge’ might change things as it will be the first-ever satellite to visit the dark side of the Moon.

The China National Space Administration launched ‘Queqiao’ relay satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern regions of Sichuan province. According to the Chinese media, the launch took place quite early in the morning and this satellite will prove extremely helpful in explaining the unseen side of the Moon. The ultimate goal of the Chinese space agency is to become the 1st country in the world to land on that side of the Moon. All the space agencies have failed to explore that part due to the Communicational difficulties.

However, this lunar orbiter will act as a bridge between the communication stations on Earth and a lunar lander, Chang’e-4, which is expected to hit the space later this year. According to a Chinese folktale, Magpie is a bird that unites two separated lovers every year by acting as a gulf between them. Due to this relation, the name ‘Magpie Bridge’ was suggested.

A lot of people might wonder why the same side of the Moon faces the Earth all the time when it is rotating. The answer to this query lies in a phenomenon called ‘Tidal Locking’ as the time of spin and rotation of Moon is exactly the same. This means that the amount of time it takes for the moon to spin around the Earth is equal to the time it takes to rotate around its axis. This means that Chang’e-4 lander will not be able to interact directly with the communication centers on Earth. This is where Queqiao will assist in passing the messages from the probe to our world. It is expected to reach the Moon’s orbit in a matter of few days. Zhang Lihua, the Manager of this Relay Satellite Project, explained the importance of this mission by saying,

The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land and probe the far side of the moon.”

This lunar orbiter is carrying an antenna that will be deployed at a distance of 40,000 miles from the Moon. The China National Space Administration worked in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy to come up with this amazing instrument that will study star formation immediately after the Big Bang. It is hard to detect them from Earth as the frequency of the signals is incredibly low. Queqiao will also carry seeds for potatoes and Arabidopsis, a flowering plant from the family of Cabbage.

A ‘Lunar Mini Biosphere’ experiment will be performed by growing these plants. Quite a lot of scientific tools will also accompany these seeds as Chinese space agency wants to establish a Lunar Palace on the South Pole of the Moon by 2030s.

The space program of China in the past decade clearly indicates that they want to attain the status of a ‘Superpower’ in terms of space exploration. They are making serious efforts to catch-up with Russia and the United States. A Chinese spacecraft registered a soft landing on the Moon in 2013 which made China only the 3rd nation to land on the lunar surface. The progress of China has certainly made an impact on an international level as Trump administration is being forced to make more efforts in terms of their space programs. It is a contrasting situation where US is limiting NASA’s projects and China is spending relentlessly on their space missions.

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