A Revolutionary Rover

Even though the moon is in every night sky, there has only been an attempt recently to explore the dark side.


STR/Tribune News Service

Being able to land the rover is a milestone for China in its attempt to make itself a leading space power, according to cnn.com.

250,000 miles away, there is a new rover on the completely unexplored far side of the moon. On Jan. 2 2019, the Chinese Chang’e-4 spacecraft made history as it became the first soft landing to ever be done on the far side of the moon. Not only is the mission groundbreaking because it is the first of its kind, but it also will be bringing back tons of new and extremely helpful data and could signify the startup of further space exploration from China, according to nytimes.com.

The main purpose of the mission is to prepare for further human exploration of the moon. It will be collecting soil and rocks to help aid in understanding the radiation they are exposed to. This, along with the search for water, will help scientists fully grasp the effects the moon will have on future astronauts. The rover is going to be sending down pictures of the never before seen half of the moon, allowing scientists to learn a lot more information about it that can be extremely helpful in future missions.

“I think it’s cool because NASA went to the moon and has probes there, but it feels left out or just forgotten in a sense, and it’s cool because this new Chinese probe kind of brings life back to moon exploration,” senior Luke Hildreth said.

For decades, China had always been in the background of space exploration. This mission could signify their breakthrough. According to nytimes.com, China is already planning on building a lunar base and starting more manned missions to the moon. In 2018, for the first time, they launched more rockets into space than any other country. China is exponentially growing interest in space. If they continue at this rate, China will be brought into the foregrounds of space exploration along with the US and Russia.

“[I am confident that] in several years or a decade, China will gradually catch up from behind and take a leading role in this area,” Macau University of Science and Technology professor Zhu Menghua said.

The Chang’e-4 mission marks the beginning of many things. It is just a mere stepping stone in the entire plan China has with explorations on the moon. People can expect a lot more interaction in the upcoming years with the Chang’e missions.