China’s burgeoning space program is set to attempt something that nobody has ever tried before.
Back in December 2013 the Chang’e 3 spacecraft made history when it managed to land successfully on the lunar surface along with its rover, Jade Rabbit. The probe was the first to perform a soft landing on the moon since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 spacecraft in 1976 and marked a new era of space exploration for China which has been going from strength to strength in recent years.
The country’s next mission however is set to push the boundaries even further by landing a probe on the moon’s far side.
“We are currently discussing the next moon landing site for Chang’e 4,” said engineer Wu Weiren. “We probably will choose a site that is more difficult to land and more technically challenging.”
“Other countries have chosen to land on the near side of the moon. Our next move probably will see some spacecraft land on the far side of the moon.”
The mission, which is likely to take place in 2020, will then be followed up by Chang’e-5 which will aim to land on the moon, gather samples and then return them to the Earth.
China even has plans to do the same thing with a mission to Mars by 2030.