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'This is more than just a landing': Why China's mission at the far side of the moon should be a wake-up call for the world

'This is more than just a landing': Why China's mission at the far side of the moon should be a wake-up call for the world
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider



China landed a spacecraft called Chang'e 4 on the moon's far side for the first in human history.




A rover and lander will study lunar geology, look for water ice, scan the night sky for radio bursts, and even grow silkworms.




But Chang'e 4 is just one mission leading to a sample return, crewed lunar landing, and perhaps even the construction of permanent moon bases.




The moon mission can be seen as yet another sign in the erosion of US standing in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering.



After several weeks of coasting through the void between Earth and its moon, China landed a space mission called Chang'e 4 on the lunar surface.
However, Chang'e 4 didn't touch down just anywhere: China parked the car-size lander and its rover on the moon's far side — an enigmatic region that, until now, humans have only explored from above.
China's feat was celebrated around the world by space exploration enthusiasts and even top-level NASA officials. After all, it could help unlock ancient secrets of the moon's violent formation, scan a crystal-clear night sky for radio objects billions of light-years from Earth, and even help locate deposits of water ice.
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