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China launches Chang'e-4 to reach far side of Moon

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Staff Writer |
World   Von Kármán crater is of interest to scientists

China has launched the first mission to land a robotic craft on the far side of the Moon.

The Chang'e-4 mission will see a static lander and rover touch down in Von Kármán crater, located on the side of the Moon which never faces Earth.

The payload blasted off atop a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The mission will pave the way for the country to deliver samples of Moon rock and soil to Earth.

The landing will not occur until early January, when the probe will descend on thrusters and touch down on the rugged terrain of the lunar far side.

Von Kármán crater is of interest to scientists because it is located within the oldest and largest impact feature on the Moon - the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This was probably formed by a giant asteroid impact billions of years ago.

The landers will characterise the region's geology and the composition of rock and soil.

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