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Current Affairs > Science and Technology > 2019-01-01 > Science and Technology

Space probe nears dark side of moon

what in news:

·         A Chinese space probe is moving into position to land on the dark side of the moon for the first time.

About news:

·         The probe, the Chang’e-4, entered a planned orbit“to prepare for the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon”, the news agency said, citing the China National Space Administration.

·         The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side — or the “dark side” — is never visible from Earth.

·         Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the moon, but none has landed on it.

·         The probe had entered an elliptical lunar orbit at 08.55 Beijing time, which brought it at its closest point just 15 km away from the surface of the moon.

·          The Chang’e-4 first entered a lunar orbit on December 12.

·         The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain, landform and mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon.

China Space ambitions

·         China aims to catch up with Russia and the U.S. to become a major space power by 2030.

·         It is planning to launch construction of its own manned space station next year.

·          However, while China has insisted that its ambitions are purely peaceful, the U.S. Defense Department has accused it of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis.

About Chang'e 4

·         It is a Chinese lunar exploration mission that aims to achieve the first soft-landing on the far side of the Moon.

·          The robotic lander and rover were launched on 7 December 2018, and landing is scheduled for 3 January 2019.

·         The mission is the follow-up to Chang'e 3, the first Chinese landing on the Moon

The specific objectives are:

·         To measure lunar surface temperature over the duration of the mission

·         Measure the chemical compositions of lunar rocks and soils

·         Carry out low-frequency radio astronomical observation and research

·         Study of cosmic rays

·         Observe the solar corona, investigate its radiation characteristics and mechanism, and to explore the evolution and transport of coronal mass ejections (CME) between the Sun and Earth.

Expected prelims question:

Recently Chang’e 4 was launched by

a)       China

b)      Russia

c)       Germany

d)      Finland

Ans - a

Expected mains question:

China aims to catch up with Russia and the U.S. to become a major space power by 2030. In light to above statement Discuss the recent space launches by china space industry.