China Wants To Land Probe On The Far Side Of The Moon This Year

China has been saying for at least three years now that it plans to land on the far side of the moon, something that'll go down as a historic achievement if it manages to pull it off successfully. We heard about such ambitions in 2015 and again in 2016, but now the nation is back with a hard launch date: by the end of this year.

China has been working hard to get into space and there's no signs of that slowing down. The nation hopes to land its own probe on the dark, unexplored side of the moon, eventually putting its own astronauts on the lunar surface. The country's goal remains on target for this year.

The news follows China's rocket launch last week, which involved sending up a relay satellite toward the moon. This is the first step in a goal that will eventually let the nation's space agency land an unmanned vehicle on the lunar surface's far side, the part that faces away from Earth.

Assuming China successfully lands there, it will be the first nation to put a probe on the moon's dark side, giving humanity an unprecedented look at the mysterious portion of the celestial body. However, due to its position away from Earth, communication from spacecraft on that side to those on our planet is problematic.

The country has rolled out a list of goal dates for various space missions. Following a lunar probe launch to the far side of the moon later this year, China wants to put a person on the moon, later deploying a Mars rover in 2020, spacecraft to explore asteroids in 2022, shuttle Mars samples back to Earth in 2028, start exploring Jupiter in 2029, and have a research station on the moon by 2050.

SOURCE: NYT