Chang’e-4 Moon lander and rover.


China is pressing forward on its Chang’e-4 lunar probe, to be launched in the latter half of next year. The spacecraft will attempt the first ever soft landing on the far side of the Moon.

As prelude to the mission, China is set to launch a relay satellite in the first half of 2018. This communications relay craft will be positioned at the Earth-Moon (E-M) Lagrangian 2 (L2) point, as reported by the State-run Xinhua news service.

Earth-Moon L2 relay link.
Credit: CNSA


Earth-Moon link

This E-M L2 locale makes possible linkage between Earth controllers and the Chang’e-4 lander and rover on the Moon’s far side.

Meanwhile, China is soliciting 20,000 messages that will be sent into space via the relay satellite. According to Xinhua, “people all over the world can follow the WeChat account “slecbj” to submit their wishes from Dec. 19, 2017, to March 6, 2018.

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