China creates history, lands spacecraft on far side of the Moon for the first time
Beijing, Jan 3: China reached a milestone in space exploration on Thursday after landing a spacecraft on the far side of the moon for the first time in history.
The landing of the probe, called Chang'e-4 after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, is one in a coming series of missions that underscore the country's ambitions to join - and even lead - the space race.
The Chang'e 4 mission launched in early December. It took the spacecraft three days to travel to the moon, where it spent the last few weeks in orbit preparing for touch down on the Von Karman crater. The crater is a relatively flat spot on the moon's far side.
The far side of the moon has been seen and mapped before, even by astronauts of the Apollo missions. But the successful landing of Chang'e 4 represents the first time any spacecraft has touched down on the moon's far side.
China landed another rover on the moon in 2013, joining the United States and the Soviet Union as the only nations to have carried out a "soft landing" there, but the Chang'e-4 is the first to touch down on the side of the moon that perpetually faces away from the Earth.