China Plans to Launch Robot Rovers to the Far Side of the Moon This December

China’s space agency has released details about its upcoming Chang’e-4 lunar mission in which it plans to launch two robots to the far side of the moon. According to a report from Business Insider on the matter, the lunar mission has been scheduled for December as part of the country’s ongoing lunar exploration program.

A Chinese government official was quoted saying that the new mission “will be the first to realize a soft landing on and inspection of” the far side of the moon. The Chang’e-4 mission comprises of backup hardware from 2013’s Chang’e-3 mission, which launched the Yutu or ‘Jade Rabbit’ rover along with a stationary probe to the moon’s near side.

Moon China
Von Karman crater (Image: NASA)

Using the lunar rover, the Chinese space agency plans to study some of the moon’s most ancient rocks which could help scientists learn more about the satellite’s history. Chang’e-4 will also be responsible for testing some hardware that China plans to use for the Chang’e-5 mission, which aims to collect about 4.4lbs of dust and rocks from a northwest part of the moon and bring the samples back to Earth.

China plans to land the Chang’e-4 in the moon’s Von Karman crater near the south pole. The mission may also deploy an experiment that would take images of the sky in low-frequency radio waves. In addition to the rock-sampling and radio-astronomy experiments, the Chang’e-4 mission will also be carrying a miniature ecosystem of life on Earth. The solar-powered moon rover has been designed to last about three months and its lander is designed to function for about a year.

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