The probe, the Chang'e-4, is expected to make the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the Moon, according to Xinhua. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the Moon, but none has landed on it.
The Moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side is never visible from Earth.
The tasks of the Chang'e-4 probe include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon, Xinhua quoted the China National Space Administration as saying.
However, while China has insisted its ambitions are purely peaceful, the U.S. Defense Department has accused it of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis. (Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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