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China makes history as first to land spacecraft on far side of moon

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Chang'e-4
World   Chang'e-4 landed at 10:26 a.m. Beijing Time

China's Chang'e-4 probe touched down on the far side of the moon Thursday, becoming the first spacecraft soft-landing on the moon's uncharted side never visible from Earth.

The probe, comprising a lander and a rover, landed at the preselected landing area on the far side of the moon at 10:26 a.m. Beijing Time, the China National Space Administration announced.

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.

"China's Chang'e-4 probe softlands on Moon's far side," the state news agency tweeted on Thursday.

Landing on the far side is a technical challenge, as there is no direct way to communicate with the spacecraft as it nears its target. China put a relay satellite in orbit around the moon in May to overcome that communication challenge.


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