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This weekend, China embarks on a historic mission to land on the far side of the Moon

Submitted by The Verge on December 6, 2018 - 2:39pm

<em>The far side of the Moon as seen from Apollo 16</em>

Early Saturday morning in China, a rocket will launch, carrying a lander and a rover bound for the Moon. It will mark the beginning of China’s ambitious lunar mission known as Chang’e-4, which will attempt to land spacecraft on the Moon’s far side — the region that always faces away from Earth. No other nation has ever attempted such a feat — which means the mission could catapult China into spaceflight history.

So far, China is among an elite group of three countries that have landed a spacecraft softly on the surface of the Moon. Apart from America’s notable Apollo missions, the former Soviet Union also landed robotic spacecraft on the lunar surface, with the last mission occurring in 1976. In 2013, China entered the fray, putting a...

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