China will be starting a new mission that will be exploring the far side of the Moon by launching the first part of the mission: a relay satellite. The second phase of the mission will see China send a rover to the far side of the Moon.
This would make China the first country to successfully land a rover on this side of the Moon.
Satellite On The Far Side Of The Moon
China will be sending the Chang'e 4's relay satellite about 40,000 miles (around 60,000 kilometers) to the far side of the Moon. Its purpose is to serve as a link in communications between Earth and the rover it will send in the second part of the mission. It has named the relay satellite Queqiao, which means "Magpie Bridge" that is taken from Chinese folklore.
Communications between the far side of the Moon and Earth would be impossible because the Moon is tidally locked, and that side will always face away from the Earth. To contact the rover, the Queqiao satellite will relay signals between the rover and Earth. It will be located at Lagrange Point 2, a position in which gravity from the Sun and Earth balance the orbital motion of a satellite.
The launch of the satellite will also include a Dutch radio telescope that will detect the difficulty of picking up signals from the early universe. The purpose is to pick up signals from the Cosmic Dawn, the time after the Big Bang before stars formed.
Chang'e 4 Mission
This is just the start of an ambitious space program by China. It first announced its intentions to send a lunar rover to the far side of the Moon back in 2016. In the same announcement, the Chinese space program promised to send its first Mars probe by 2020.
China has landed a lunar rover in the past, but this would be a first in the history of space travel. The purpose of the Chang'e 4 rover is to collect data about how the Moon formed and evolved over time. It will carry out a geological survey and research.
Another of China's ambitious missions for the Moon includes establishing a research station on the Moon's south pole. China will carry out three missions to the poles to research its geological structure and mineral composition. During these missions, they hope to bring samples of the Moon back to Earth.