China launches mission to explore dark side of the moon

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The Chang'e-4 lunar probe mission - named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology - launched on a Long March 3B rocket from the southwestern Xichang launch centre at 2:23 am (1823 GMT), according to the official Xinhua news agency. The mission will include a low-frequency radio-astronomical study of the lunar surface, a shallow exploration beneath the surface, and a study of the topographical and mineralogical composition of the SPA basin.

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing and lunar missions continue to be a source of fascination.

If you're tempted to make a Pink Floyd joke, remember this: "The side of the Moon we do not see from Earth gets just as much sunlight on it as the side we do see". Lagrange points are positions in space where a small object (the satellite, in this case) is gravitationally balanced between two large objects (the moon and the Earth, in this case) and will remain in place relative to them. The far side is believed to have a thicker crust and is pockmarked by relatively more and deeper craters than the near side.

This article was originally published by Futurism.

China launched its Queqiao satellite earlier this year in order to communicate with the lander and rover. Here, the satellite will be able to constantly transmit communications between mission controllers on Earth and the lander-rover on the lunar surface. The Chang'e 3 mission marked first soft-landing by a spacecraft on the moon in almost four decades. In the case of the success of the mission, China will become the first country, which will be able to perform this task.

Objective of the mission is to try to deliver samples of lunar soil to Earth.

Model of Chang'e moon lander.

China launched an experimental spacecraft in 2014 to test technologies to be used on Chang'e-5, which is expected to bring moon samples back to earth.

Saturday's launch was the 294th mission of the Long March rocket series.