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China seems to be planning to send a spacecraft to the far side of the Moon this month. The Chang'e-4 spacecraft is slated for a December 8 take off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan. The spacecraft will be carrying a lander and a rover, that is said to touch down the surface on the lunar surface. No spacecraft has ever touched down on the surface of the moon's far side.
The lander and rover will be exploring and study the crater-marker far side of the Moon. The mission also includes the first radio astronomy experiments, reported Scientific American.
Chang'e-4 is the China National Space Administration's (CNSA) new move to fulfill its lunar aspirations. Back in 2013, the Chang'e-3 landed on the surface, which was followed by the announcement of a moon base.
If the new Chang'e-4 rover manages to successfully land on the surface, it will map the area around its landing site. The rover will measure the subsurface layer leveraging its ground-penetrating radar.
The CNSA hasn't revealed the landing site of the rover, though Zongcheng Ling, a planetary scientist at Shandong University, told Scientific American that the rover is most likely to land in Von Kármán, a 115-wide crater.
The Chang'e-4 is also assigned to prepare for future crewed missions and the CNAS's desired moon base. The rover will also study the growth of certain seeds sprout in a controlled on the moon's low-gravity surface.
"When we take the step towards long-term human habitation on the Moon or Mars, we will need greenhouse facilities to support us, and will need to live in something like a biosphere," Anna-Lisa Paul, a horticultural scientist at the University of Florida, told Scientific American.
Besides, the CNAS is also planning to launch the Chang'e-5 next year. The rover will be sent to collect and bring back the samples to Earth.