China has big plans: before 2020 they will send a spacecraft to land on the moon’s “dark side”. If this mission will be successful, China will be the first country to do so.
This mission will be carried out by the Chang’e-4. In May, the chief engineer for China’s Lunar Exploration Program, Wu Weiren, told state-run broadcaster CCTV that China would send the Chang’e-4 spacecraft to the orbit the moon before sending a rover to the surface.
“We probably will choose a site on which it is more difficult to land and more technically challenging… Our next move will probably see some spacecraft land on the far side of the moon.” said Wu.
In December 2013 China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon. This event made from China the third nation, after U.S. And Russia, to land on the moon’s surface.
The side form the moon that is not visible from the earth has been observed by various probes, but until now landing has never been attempted.
Initially, the Chang’e 4 spacecraft was designed as a backup for the Chang’e-3. “Jade rabbit” is still working on the moon.
In March, Xinhua (China’s official news agency) reported that China will start its third phase in 2017 by launching the Chang’e-5 spacecraft.
After making a soft landing on the moon, the lander will dig and gather rock samples from up to two meters below the surface. Ouyang Ziyuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a senior consultant with the lunar exploration program, said that Chang’e-5 will be launched at the newly-build Wenchang Satelite Launch Center in Hainan, an island off southern China.
“Since Chang’e-3 successfully completed its mission, we have had more time to explore a more comprehensive mission for Chang’e-4.” said Ouyang Ziyuan.
“That’s why it’s possible for Chang’e-5 to launch to the moon before Chang’e-4.”
Also, Ouyang Ziyuan said that he’s still authorized to give details of the mission to the moon’s “dark side”.
Some security experts say that China’s lunar exploration plan could mean a future of Chinese supremacy over the moon’s resources. These resources include water and Helium 3 – a clean-burning fuel that will be an alternative to nuclear power.
Also, recently Japan’s space agency recently announced that the country would land an unmanned rover on the surface of the moon by 2018.