China has many reasons to celebrate here in early 2019, not just because it's a new year. The country's space agency, the CNSA, successfully landed its lunar lander Chang'e 4 on the far side of the moon and deployed a rover that scientists will use to study the surface.
This is a monumental feat for China, which has made a bit of "catching up" in space exploration. Now, with her mobile exploring the hidden face of the Moon for the first time, the country declares that the mission is a success and shares new images.
"Mission # 4 is the first mission of the fourth phase of China's lunar exploration project," CNSA said in a statement. "For the first time in the history of humanity, the spacecraft has made a soft landing and a patrol survey at the back of the moon, and has for the first time realized the communication relay with Earth at the back of the moon and in many countries. "
CNSA emphasized that the success of the mission was due to the cooperation and contributions of many countries, citing "significant international cooperation" as a major reason for the success of the mission. CNSA has also released new 360-degree panoramic images taken by the LG.
Image Source: CNSA / CLEP
While China certainly has reasons to celebrate achievements so far with the Chang'e 4 mission, the country still has months of scientific observation and studies before it can declare all of its goals complete.
One of the most interesting experiments that CNSA will perform is the observation of a "lunar microsystem" installed on the LG before it departs. A small module contains an autonomous ecosystem consisting of plants, soil, water and silkworms. The closed unit will be used to study the effects of low gravity on a terrestrial type ecosystem, but this will take some time.
The lander's mission is expected to last a full year, while the rover's mission will be three months shorter. China's declaration of success obviously does not mean that it is ready to conclude, but it is good to know that the country's space agency is satisfied with what it has achieved so far.
Image Source: CNSA