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Exploration of the “dark side of the Moon”: China’s growing ‘space power’
Following yesterday’s historic landing of the Chinese space probe “Chang’e-4” on the far side of the moon, the scanning and exploration of lunar soil has officially begun.
The rover started being deployed a few hours after landing and is now expected to approach a nearby crater during the day. The lander and rover is equipped with various instruments, such as spectrometers and radars, in order to study the geological structure and composition of the moon’s surface.
Additionally, a small heated compartment containing potato seeds was added to help scientists evaluate a plant’s ability to photosynthesis on the moon.
Lunar missions have seldom sparked much interest amongst China’s population. Nevertheless, Chinese officials and state media have hailed the mission as “a new chapter in humanity’s exploration of the moon”, further bolstering the country’s growing stature as an international space power to be reckoned with. NASA’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, acknowledged the significance of this feat by personally congratulating China for its successful landing, thus defining a new milestone in the superpowers’ race for space exploration.
- New York Times : “China’s Moon Landing: Lunar Rover Begins Its Exploration“, “‘New Chapter’ in Space Exploration as China Reaches Far Side of the Moon“
Photo credit :
- Wikimedia Commons : “Dark side of the Moon“