A Chinese space probe is moving into position to land on the dark side of the moon for the first time, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.
China’s Chang’e-4 lander and rover took off early on Dec. 8 local time, and is expected to touch down any day now. Over the weekend, China’s space agency said the rover was in position for landing, just 15 kilometers (9 miles) away from the lunar surface, but didn’t specify exactly when it would happen.
The far side of the moon – also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth – remains comparatively unknown, with a different composition from sites on the near side where previous missions have landed.
The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain, landform and mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon