China Sets Sights On Darker Side Of The Moon, Wants To Touch Down By 2020

China Sets Sights On Darker Side Of The Moon, Wants To Touch Down By 2020
Moon Rise Upon My Country Blek / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Apart from targeting uninhabited islands in the East and South China seas, China has also targeted the darker side of the moon. It wants to be the first to land a probe there in 2020.


Wu Weiren, China’s Lunar Exploration Program chief engineer, told state-run broadcaster CCTV the country has plans to land the Chang’e 4 spacecraft on the darker surface of the moon. He said officials will choose a sight that is “more difficult to land and more technically challenging.”

A number of countries including the United States have sent probes to observe the moon’s darker side. The first photos that showed that darker region were taken by the Soviet Luna 3 in 1959. However, a probe has actually yet to land on that area.

A report by the Examiner says that region is more rugged than the lunar near side. It is also marked with craters and with far fewer maria. The report added the Chinese are keen to exploit the far side because it is believed to contain a higher concentration of helium 2, an isotope believed to be a major fuel for future fusion reactors.

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The far side of the moon, according to ZME Science, also has the The South-Pole Aitken Basin, the biggest and most ancient lunar basin, “a fantastic place to conduct scientific experiments.”