China could become the first country to soft land a probe on the far side of the moon. If its plans would be successful, the feat would highlight the advances that China has made in the field of space technology.
China To Speed Up Development Of Space Industry
In a white paper titled "China's Space Activities in 2016," China said that it will accelerate the development of its space industry as it aims to become the first country to soft land a probe on the far side of the moon as early as 2018. It also plans to launch its first Mars probe by 2020.
The paper, which was released by the information office of China's Cabinet on Tuesday, Dec. 27, sets outs the space strategy of the country for the next five years.
It says that China's goal is to use space for peaceful purposes, ensure national security and carry out cutting-edge scientific research.
Why China Wants To Explore The Dark Side Of The Moon
China has already landed a rover on the lunar surface in the past but it aims to explore the dark side of the moon to carve out a niche for itself since this has not yet been done by other countries.
The mission to send a probe on the dark side of the moon would involve the lunar probe Chang'e-4, which the white paper said will conduct in situ and roving detection, as well as transmit communication at earth-moon L2 point.
The paper said that the Chang'e-4 lunar probe will provide more information on how the Earth's natural satellite formed and evolved.
"Geological survey and research as well as low-frequency radio astronomy observation and research will be carried out targeting the landing area on the far side of the moon for a better understanding of the formation and evolution of the moon," the paper read.
Space security expert He Qisong, from the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said that achieving the first soft landing on the far side of the moon is a new goal that indicates China has mastered the necessary technology to land a probe on a specific area of the moon.
China's Advancing Space Program
Last month, two Chinese astronauts spent a month in space aboard the Tiangong-2 experimental space station. It was China's longest manned mission. The country is also set to start the operation of a permanently crewed space station six years from now.