China launches mission to explore dark side of the moon

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China was preparing to launch a ground-breaking mission early Saturday to soft-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 U.S.

To land an improved (lighter) model "Chang'e-4" on the moon should at the beginning of 2019, reports TASS. The Moon's far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown, with a different composition from sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

And as no lander or rover has ever touched the particular area of moon, China grabs the top spot as the first nation to explore the area.

Beijing plans to launch its first Mars probe around 2020 to carry out orbital and rover exploration, followed by a mission that would include collection of surface samples from the Red Planet.

The most ambitious robotic moon probe ever by any space-faring country was launched by China on Saturday morning.

"A probe called Chang'e-4 should sit at the South pole of the moon".

It is expected to soft land on the far side of the Moon in January, unveiling the mysterious dark side which is unknown. The mission will also analyze radiosity on the reverse side of the moon, to explore opportunities for placement of astronomical telescopes in the future.

China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, making it only the third country after Russian Federation and the do so.

The lunar rover will study the structure of the rocks and the effects of the solar wind striking the moon's surface.

Rover Utah that was part of the mission "Chang'e-3", explored the satellite in 2013.

In comparison, despite its recent success in sending a robotic lander to Mars, the United States space agency NASA has faced years of budgetary constraints. Chinese scientists and astronauts are barred from using the International Space Station, as the US government refuses to work with China on space endeavors.