The Chinese robotic probe Chang’e 4 has landed on the dark side of the moon, becoming the first manmade craft to alight on the unexplored surface, according to reports from Chinese state media.
The probe reportedly landed in the South Pole-Aitken basin, the oldest, largest, and deepest crater on the moon’s surface. The moon’s dark side remains largely unexplored because its position shields it from radio frequencies, preventing direct contact with the Earth. To solve that problem, China launched the relay satellite Queqiao earlier this year to transmit signals from the dark side.
Chang’e 4 will perform several experiments while on the moon, including testing whether plants will grow in the low gravity environment, exploring the poles to find water or other resources, observing the interaction between solar winds and the lunar surface, and conducting the first lunar low-frequency radio astronomy experiment.