The dark side of the Moon has always been the subject of myths, legends and pop-culture, such as Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album. Chinese astronomers were also drawn to the unknown and have decided to launch a probe to investigate the Moon’s dark side for the first time in history.
The probe Chang’e 4 which was launched in early December is now at the Moon’s orbit.
The probe was named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon, and is meant to research the satellite’s surface and gather samples. The goal is to see what hides beneath the surface and whether plant-life could be sustained on the Moon.
Similar to Mars Rover
Chang’e 4 is a combination of a lander and a jeep, a simpler but similar device to the one used by NASA on Mars.
If all goes according to plan, Chang’e 4 will make history’s first landing on the lunar far side sometime in early January.
If the probe is successful, China will launch another one “Chang’e 5” in 2019. The mission of this probe is to also successfully return to Earth, which would pave the way for China to send a manned mission to the Moon’s surface.