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Chinese module to study moon's far side

By Zhao Lei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-12-08 03:19

[Video by Wang Tonghua/provided to chinadaily.com.cn] 

Mankind will soon be able to discover the far side of the moon as a Chinese lunar embarks on its journey toward the silver sphere early Saturday.

The Chang'e 4 robotic probe, the first artifact to touch down on the moon's far side, was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket at 2:23 am Beijing time at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China's Sichuan province, according to a statement from the China National Space Administration.

During its multi-week flight toward the moon, the probe will enter a lunar transfer trajectory and then orbit the moon before making an autonomous soft-landing on the Aitken Basin of the south lunar pole, the statement said.

Tidal forces on Earth slow the moon's rotation to the point where the same side always faces Earth. The other side, most of which is never visible from Earth, is the far side of the moon. However, it is not a "dark side" of the moon because the far side is as illuminated by the sun as the "near side" facing us.

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