China successfully launches lunar probe


The Chang'e-4 lunar probe was launched on a Long March 3B rocket from the southwestern Xichang launch centre, and is expected to reach its destination sometime around the turn of the year.

Chang'e-4 will be the second Chinese probe to land on the moon.

Earlier it was reported that Russian Federation intends to deploy a full-scale moon base between 2036 and 2040 to deliver large goods and saturate the lunar polygons a variety of scientific experiments. A couple of the probe's scientific instruments were contributed by teams from Germany and Sweden.

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 Russian Federation, the European Union and the US.

The probe and the lunar Rover is equipped with several cameras, radar to scan the moon's surface, a spectrometer for the determination of minerals and device for investigation of the interaction of the solar wind with the lunar surface.

The far side is such a place, as the body of the moon shields against radio interference from the earth. Chinese astronomers plan to send data back via Queqiao, a satellite China launched earlier this year to relay the information, BBC reports.

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However, the chosen landing area for Chang'e-4, which is a smaller crater within a larger crater, is much narrower than the landing site of Chang'e-3, and the terrain is more rugged, posing great challenges for the landing, said Wu Xueying, deputy chief designer of the probe.

Although the Chinese government has long stressed its "peaceful motives" in space exploration, Washington increasingly views China - along with Russian Federation - as a potential threat, accusing Beijing of working to bring new weapons into space and prompting President Donald Trump to announce the establishment of a US Space Force by 2020.

Launch of the Chang'e-4 mission from Xichang at 18:23 UTC December 7, 2018. Two probes have been put in Lunar orbit, Chang'e-1 and 2.

Moreover, Beijing is planning to send another lander to the moon, the Chang'e-5.

The lunar program ushered in a new era for China to explore the universe and peaceful utilization of space.

The Chang'e 4 mission is a step in that direction, significant for the engineering expertise needed to explore and settle the moon, McDowell said.