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The Chinese space agency will be launching the Chang'e 4 moon lander on Friday 7 December, hoping to make China the first country to land on the far side of the moon. Dutch astronomers are also looking forward to the launch as they are collaborating with Chinese scientists on this mission. A satellite containing a Dutch radio instrument has already been launched to the far side of the moon, ready to be switched on once the moon lander touches down.
How is the Chang'e4 satellite doing?
China - Chang'e - Relay - Satellite - May
China's Chang'e 4 relay satellite was launched on 21 May this year, following the launch of the moon lander. The satellite is now in place behind the moon to provide communication between the moon lander and the earth, and is equipped with a radio instrument made in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands-China Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) was developed by a team from Radboud University, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and the company ISIS. The instrument is expected to start making scientific observations early next year. The whole Dutch team is keenly anticipating the launch on 7 December, not only because it will be the first ever landing on the far side of the moon, but especially because scientists from the Radboud Radio Lab in Nijmegen and ASTRON are also part of the Chang'e 4 mission's scientific team – the first time they have been involved in a moon landing.
Astrophysicist - Managing - Director - Radboud - Radio
Astrophysicist and Managing Director of the Radboud Radio Lab, Marc Klein Wolt, explains, "With our instrument installed on the relay satellite, we have become the first Dutch team ever to be part of a mission to the moon. That was special enough, but this makes it even more special." While no instruments...
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