The dark side of the moon has always fascinated the mind of man. Soon enough, it might no more be a mystery to us: China intends to launch an unmanned mission to the other side by 2018 or 2019.
If China does execute its plan, it will become the first country to reach for the far side of our satellite by sending an unmanned lander and rover to the moon. Thereafter, they might probably set up a manned lunar base there.
The stationary lander and rover will be named Chang’e 4. Back in December 2013, China had sent out its Chang’e 3 lander, marking the first soft-landing on the moon since the Soviet Union’s mission (Luna 24) in 1976.
China might possibly be assisted by the European Space Agency (ESA), but this has not been confirmed by the authorities yet.
For the next mission, China will be enhancing its Chang’e 3 rover technology.
“[The] Chang’e 4 probe, lander and rover [will] have the same technical status with the Chang’e 3,” one of the officials said in a statement. It was also added that “exploration will be redesigned” and “the payload will be reconfigured.”
The lander will include an orbiting relay satellite in the Earth-Moon Lagrange point 2 (L2) position; China sent out a test spacecraft there last year. The satellite will help establish connection with the Earth, since the far side of the moon is never seen from our planet, and hence why it constitutes such a great mystery to us.
For such a mission, assistance from experts of other countries would undoubtedly be precious. China does not shy away from such a need; it is also hoping to have the permission to dock at the International Space Station (ISS) in the future.