Newstalk
Newstalk

07.46 3 Jan 2019


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China has become the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon.

State media reported that the unmanned Chang'e-4 probe touched down this morning at 10:26am Beijing time (2:26am Irish time).

It made a 'soft landing' in the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, on the side of the moon that never faces Earth.

China's People's Daily newspaper said the probe "sent back the first-ever photograph of the moon's far side, opening a new chapter in lunar exploration".

The photos have been released by Chinese authorities:

Picture by: Xinhua/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine was among those who congratulated China's National Space Administration (CNSA) on the accomplishment.

The probe left Earth on December 8th, and entered lunar orbit four days later.

The mission has a number of objectives - including to study lunar rocks on the far side of the moon, and to measure lunar surface temperature.

Today's successful landing marks a significant accomplishment for China's burgeoning space programme.

Dr Malcolm Davis of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute speculated that the next step could be a manned mission to the moon by Chinese astronauts.


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