China Daily said the Chang’e 4 spacecraft could land on the moon by Thursday.
The Chang’e 4 robotic probe is expected to land on the South Pole–Aitken basin on the silver sphere’s far side sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, according to information from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, a major contractor of the country’s lunar exploration programs.
The State-owned conglomerate previously said that the spacecraft would fly 26 days before landing on the lunar surface.
Chang’e 4 was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket on Dec 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province to fulfill the world’s first expedition on a lunar region that never faces the Earth.
The lander includes the following payloads:
- landing and terrain cameras;
- a low-frequency spectrometer;
- a lunar lander neutrons and dosimetry (LND) dosimeter supplied by Kiel University in Germany;
- a container with silkworm eggs and seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana; and,
- a miniature camera to record the growth of the eggs and seeds.
The rover’s payloads include:
- a panoramic camera;
- a lunar penetrating radar system;
- a visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer; and,
- and an advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN) analyzer provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) to measure the interaction of the solar winds with the lunar surface.
The lander and rover will communicate with the Chang’e 4 relay satellite, which was launched last year.