China’s Chang’e-4 Could Land on Lunar Far Side this Week

Von Karman crater, the planned landing site for Chang’e-4.

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.

  • Robert Sutton

    Will this be the most significant Lunar event in decades?

  • savuporo

    It’s a big event, but there are plenty of important discoveries over last two decades. First with Chandrayaan 1 water confirmations, kicked off by Lunar Prospector hydrogen mapping.

  • SamuelRoman13

    It landed OK. The 1st image shows it ,as Insight, landed about 40m from a deep crater that may have crashed it. Looks like luck or as some has said it has, very good auto or RC obstacle avoidance. I think some writers just make things up. I think they made a blind landing and just lucked out.

    Doug I have to sign in for each comment. Have they changed or is it just my browser(Chromium)?

  • SamuelRoman13 .
    Nice crater. I bet the rover can not drive into it and drive back out. Good thing they did not land in that crater. It would have crashed.

  • Robert Sutton

    Still it’s not until a craft has passed far beyond Pluto that half of the nearest thing is reached

  • Robert Sutton

    Yes I wondered about that in golf that would have been a dilemma

  • Lee

    Nope. From AvLeak:

    “Because of the rough surface of the far side of the Moon, Chang’e 4 had to make a precise landing and a nearly vertical descent: Approaching as Chang’e 3 did, along a shallow arc and with less precision, would have risked crashing into some topographical feature. Controllers initiated descent from an altitude of 15 km (50,000 ft.), at which time the craft was moving at 1.7 km/sec. (3,800 mph) relative to the Moon. A rapid attitude adjustment was made at 6-8 km altitude. At 100 m (330 ft.) altitude, the craft hovered to survey the terrain; it identified obstacles and chose a relatively flat spot, to which it slowly descended.”