The Chinese spacecraft, Chang’e-4, is set to visit the far side of the moon this December. The side the craft is visiting contains one of the deepest crevasses on the moon. Caused by an impact from a rock, is 8 kilometers deep and 2,500 kilometers wide. Landing in the appropriately scary named Von Kármán crater would be a historic accomplishment for China and could help the world discover more about our moon.
The spacecraft is meant to test some properties of the mantle, such as if it’s dry or wet. The testings will be far from accurate but are meant to help allow for future observations. The ship is carrying three cameras, an infrared spectrometer, and two ground-penetrating radars.
Besides these items, the ship is also carrying some new technology that will be put in use for the first time. A Swedish instrument will be used to study how the sun interacts with the moon, a German instrument used to measure radiation levels, and a container with seed and insect eggs in order to see if they could hatch on the moon.
The Chinese aren’t stopping there; they also are launching the Chang’e-5 in 2019. The 5 is landing on the near side of the moon, but will be landing in a spot that no astronaut or spacecraft has ever been before. The craft will be picking up lunar rocks, which will be the first mission from any country to return with lunar rocks in over 40 years.
However, due to the Wolf Act, American scientists are prohibited from collaborating with Chinese scientists without permission from Congress. American space policy analyst Scott Pace said in an interview with Science News “From a purely science standpoint, we’d love to have that. Whether the politics allows it, we’ll have to see… We don’t want this kind of thing to badly impact the science.”
Cedar Cliff High School biology teacher Audrey Plassio said, “We all should be working together. If we found the cure to cancer and didn’t share it, what good does that do? Science works for the greater good.”
Header photo from wikipedia
Thumb photo spacenews.com