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The National China Space Administration marked a space exploration milestone on Thursday when it claimed to have landed a spacecraft equipped with a rover vehicle on what is commonly referred to as the dark side of the moon.
The Communist government reportedly did not allow celebrations of the success of the mission on social media and deleted tweets touting the historic moment.
China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft achieved the milestone at 10:26 a.m. on Jan. 3 in Beijing (6:26 p.m. PT on Jan. 2), with the country’s space agency landing its lunar probe in Von Kármán crater on the moon’s mysterious far side. Official word was provided at 12 p.m. local time (8 p.m. PT) by Chinese state media service CCTV.
Photo - Surface - Hours - Relay - Satellite
It sent back the first photo of the lunar surface a few hours later, via the relay satellite Queqiao (Magpie Bridge), according to the state-run China Global Television Network.
Unlike NASA’s history-making mission to Mars in November and the agency’s flyby of the mysterious Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 on New Year’s Day, China’s landmark landing wasn’t televised.
Chang'e - December - Orbit - December - Media
Chang’e 4 was launched on December 7 and reached lunar orbit on December 12, according to media reports.
The challenge of operating on what is technically the far side of the moon — given it gets sunlight but, because of planetary rotations, never faces the earth — is setting up radio communication.
CNET - Spacecraft - Seeds - Silkworm - Eggs
CNET reported that the spacecraft also carried seeds and silkworm eggs to find out if the lifeforms can survive and thrive on the moon.
“Other instruments, developed by Swedish and German engineers, will allow the lunar robots to better study solar wind, charged particles that burst forth from the sun’s atmosphere,” CNET reported, adding that the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia also provided payload for the voyage.
Messages - Government - Outlets - Media
Celebratory messages from various Chinese government outlets on social media mysteriously disappeared...
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