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China May Land A Probe On The Far Side Of The Moon By 2020

China Moon Probe

In another move which comes as part of what some have dubbed the “Asian space race,” China is considering landing a probe on the far side of the moon by 2020. If successful, China would be the world’s first in successfully doing so previous manned spaceflights have orbited the moon and taken photographs (like the photo above, taken during the Apollo 16 mission), but no one has taken a probe there.

China landed the lunar probe Chang’e-3,  on the near side of the moon (video of landing at the end of this article) specifically at Mare Imbrium, or “Sea of Showers”, which was the landing site of Apollo 15 in 1971 on December 14, 2013. The probe is still roving about the moon today. The far side probe, named Chang’e-4, wouldn’t launch until 2020. However, Chang’e-5 will be launched in 2017, with an ambitious mission to land on the moon, collect samples, and return to Earth intact.

Why is Chang’e-5 launching before Chang’e-4? Ouyang Ziyuan, senior consultant in the lunar exploration program, told CNN that Chang’e-3’s success gave the program “more time to explore a more comprehensive mission for Chang’e-4”.

Since Chang’e-3 successfully completed its mission, we have had more time to explore a more comprehensive mission for Chang’e-4..That’s why it’s possible for Chang’e-5 to launch to the moon before Chang’e-4.

The Japanese space agency (JAXA) announced earlier this year that they plan to land a lunar rover on the moon by 2018. India has announced plans for a Mars mission in direct competition with Chinese interests, which if current predictions are accurate, wouldn’t take place until at least 2039.

In other coverage of China’s intentions in space here at Immortal News, China plans to strip mine the moon for rare Helium-3, which is rare on Earth but believed to be in abundance on the surface of the moon.

What do you think about the Asian space race? Do you think that the Chang’e-5 mission will be successful? Let us know in the comments.

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