Last week, China landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, something no country has ever done before. In the days since China’s National Space Administration has released a photo of its lander, and now the agency has released a short video of the landing, which shows the Chang’e-4’s descent:
Landing on the Moon’s far side is astronomically more difficult than landing on the near side. Communications from the Earth can’t pass through the surface of the Moon, so that entire half of the Moon is completely isolated. This understandably poses a bit of a problem for a remotely-operated spacecraft, so China had to put a specialized relay satellite in lunar orbit to send signals to the lander as it descended.
Now that the spacecraft has landed, the Chinese scientists can start using the tools on board to learn more about this under-explored half of our closest neighbour.
With luck, 2019 will be full of new lunar discoveries.