At 10:26 Beijing time (02:26 GMT), January 3, China achieved a world first when it landed its Chang’e 4 probe in the South Pole-Aitken Basin of the moon. While the USA, Russia and China have all successfully landed spacecraft on the side of the moon that faces earth, China alone has just landed on the “far” or “dark” side.
The landing was described as, “an impressive accomplishment,” by NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine. The probe has already sent back its first pictures from the surface, which have been shared by the Chinese state media.
Interestingly, despite the obvious propaganda value of such a technological feat, there was little media coverage around the Chang’e 4 landing attempt before the official announcement of its success was aired.
Nevertheless, this is a significant step in China’s bid to become a leading power in space exploration, alongside the United States and Russia. The next step is for China to build its own space station next year, with the hope of having it operative as early as 2022. This is a remarkable trajectory considering it was only in 2003 that China sent its first astronaut into orbit.
What do you think of China’s plans to expand further into space exploration? Let us know in the comments below.
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