China’s mission to land spacecraft on moon’s unexplored dark side

Beijing is preparing to launch the Chang’e 4 mission early Saturday to soft-land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon. China hopes to be the first country to ever successfully undertake such a landing, AP said. The moon’s far side is known as the ‘dark side’ because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition from sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed. If successful, the mission scheduled to blast off aboard a Long March 3B rocket will propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration. China landed its Yutu rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe there next year. A crewed lunar mission is under consideration. Chang’e is the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology.