Chinese media said that its scientists have launched the nation’s first robotic craft that will land on the moon’s Von Karmain crater that never faces the earth. The vehicle blasted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on the Long March 3B rocket. This rocket will land only by early January when its thrusters touch down on the moon’s rugged terrain and will help the country to have its own samples of moon rock and soil. The crater is of special interest to researchers as it is located within largest impact region of the moon called South Pole Aitken Basin that could have formed due to impact of a giant asteroid several billion years ago.
The landers will collect details of the region’s geology along with rock and soil composition details. Due to tidal locking we often see only one side of the moon as it takes same time to rotate on its axis as it takes to complete an orbit of the earth. This is why that region is called as dark side which is also illuminated by the sun but remains unseen from earth and it has a thicker crust which is marked with numerous craters.
This mission will also carry out a radio environment test on the far side to lay down groundwork for creation of radio astronomy telescopes in the future that could be shielded from earth’s radio noise. The static lander is carrying 3 kg container with seeds of potato and Arabidopsis plants for performing a biological experiment in a lunar mini biosphere that was designed 28 Chinese universities. According to Lio Hanlong of Chongqing University the chief director of this experiment, it was done to study respiration of seeds and photosynthesis on the moon. As the landers will not be within sight of earth the data will be sent back through a relay satellite named Queqiao that was launched in May.
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