What is the far side of the moon and how will China's space rover explore it?
It is hoped it will land in a crater on Earth’s satellite and carry out a number of tests.
What is the far side of the Moon?
The far or dark side of the Moon is, in short, the side of the satellite that is never seen by humans.
Due to “tidal locking” humans only ever see one side of the Moon because it takes just as long to rotate on its own axis as it takes to complete one orbit of Earth.
The side we see is illuminated by the Sun while the opposite side, referred to as the far side is the furthest away from the Sun.
No rocket from Earth has ever landed on the dark side of the Moon which is largely unknown to humans.
The spacecraft will also carry out a range of scientific experiments; including one which will test if it is possible to grow plants there.
A rocket blasted off from Xiching Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province on December 8 and it is hoped it will enter the Moon’s orbit before touching down in a massive crater near the Moon’s south pole.
How will China’s space rover explore it?
The rover is expected to land in Von Karman’s crater in early January.
It will study the composition of rock and soil and study the surrounding geology.
The crater, which is 115 miles wide – is located within the oldest and largest impact feature on the Moon, the South Pole-Aikten Basin – coming in at 1,600 miles wide – which many scientist believe was formed by a giant asteroid impact billions of years ago.
The lander will also have with it a 3kg container with silkworm eggs, tomato seeds and Arabidopsis plant seeds to carry out a “lunar mini biosphere” experiment with the hope of attempting to grow the seeds
It will also have a variety of cameras on board as well as an imaging spectrometer to identify minerals.
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