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Losing The High Ground

from National Geographic

China just landed on the far side of the moon: What comes next?

The lander-rover combo touched down where no human or robot has ventured before. Find out what it’s doing there, and what else is headed for the lunar surface.

BY

This image from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter centers on the South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest impact basin on the moon and one of the largest in the solar system. The distance from its depths to the tops of the highest surrounding peaks is nearly 10 miles.¬†IMAGE BY NASA/GODDARD

On the evening of January 2, a Chinese lander named for an ancient moon goddess touched down on the lunar far side, where no human or robot has ever ventured before. China’s Chang’e-4 mission launched toward the moon¬†on December 7 and entered orbit around our cosmic companion on December 12. Now, the spacecraft has alighted onto the lunar surface.

Leading up to the historic touchdown, details on Chang’e-4’s landing were few and far between. CNSA is notoriously secretive; the last update offered was on December 30, when officials stated that the spacecraft had entered its final pre-landing orbit. Around the world, scientists and enthusiasts huddled in online forums and on Twitter before the landing, trading whispers as they read the latest from well-sourced journalists, Weibo accounts, and amateur astronomers tracking Chang’e-4’s orbit.

Posted on January 1, 2019 by Editor

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