01/03/2019, 12.51
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Chang'e 4 probe lands on dark side of the moon

by Wang Zhicheng

Launched on 8 December, the spacecraft will study lunar soil and grow vegetables and flowers as well as carry scientific payloads developed by Dutch, German, Swedish and Saudi scientists.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – At 10:26 Beijing time (02:26 GMT), China’s unmanned Chang'e-4 probe touched down on the dark side of the moon, state media reported.

This is the first time a craft has landed on the unexplored far side where no direct communications link is possible. All pictures and data are first sent to a separate satellite and then relayed from there to earth.

Chang’e 4’s first photos were first sent to a satellite and then relayed to earth. The probe was launched into space on 8 December.

Hitherto restrained in their coverage, state media called the landing "a major milestone in space exploration".

Chang'e 4 should study the composition of the lunar soil, above all the composition of the South Pole-Aitken basin, the deepest and oldest impact structure.

The spacecraft will also grow vegetables and flowers inside an airtight container, in experiments involving 28 Chinese universities, led by Chongqing University in southwest China.

Its mission also involves four scientific payloads developed by scientists from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

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