Chang'e-4 far side moon landing was successful

China launched the Chang'e-4 mission to land on the far side of the moon back in December. We later learned that the lander/rover combo was set to touch down on the surface of the moon some time between January 1 and 3. Chinese state media has now announced that the lander-rover touched down on the far side of the moon at 10:26 Bejing time on January 3, 2019.

The successful touch down placed the landed in Von Karaman crater located on the moon's far side South Pole-Aitken basin. This area is believed to have been created by an ancient lunar impact that left the mantle of the moon exposed. Chinese scientists think that by studying the area, they can learn more about the early solar system and the Earth.

Learning more about the moon isn't all the far side exploration is good for. Scientists note that the far side of the moon is quiet and airless making it one of the best places in the inner solar system for radio astronomy. All science data from the far side of the moon and the Chinese lander will be relayed back to Earth via the Queqiao relay satellite.

That satellite has been orbiting the moon since May 2018. Chang'e-4 launched on December 8, and the trip to the moon took the spacecraft four days. It orbited the moon for 22 days as Chinese authorities tested spacecraft systems and waited for the sun to rise at the landing site.

The Chinese have offered no indication of when science data from the mission might begin coming to Earth. The US and China don't cooperate on space missions; it's unclear if the Chinse plan to share the scientific data gathered by the rover.