Ten experiments - six from China and four from overseas - include planting potatoes and other seeds.
A Chinese Long March 3B rocket lifts off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center, sending the Chang'e-4 probe into space.
Expected to land in January, Chang'e-4 will be the world's first spacecraft to land on the side of the moon that faces away from Earth. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the Moon, but none has landed on it. The far side is a far more rugged and mountainous surface than the well-studied near side of the Moon.
Another function of the mission is to study the interaction between solar winds and the moon surface using a new rover.
The program's scientific tasks are to perform low-frequency astronomical observations, to investigate landscapes, mineral compositions and geological structures of the landing site, and to conduct lunar environmental research on elements such as neutron radiation and neutral atoms, the administration explained.
China launched the probe, which for the first time in the history of mankind has to sit on the opposite side of the moon. China launched its Queqiao satellite earlier this year in order to communicate with the lander and rover.
"We want to study plant respiration and photosynthesis on the moon", - said the Agency "Xinhua" the leader of the experiment, Liu changlun earlier this year. That probe, similar in design to Change-4, deployed a lunar rover (nicknamed Yutu, or "Jade Rabbit") for a months-long survey.
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To send a craft to the moon's far side that can still be controlled from Earth, Chinese scientists had to first tackle the problem of communication.
Chang'e 4 follows a series of Chinese lunar missions, including two orbiters and a lander.
Once on the moon's surface, the rover faces an array of extreme challenges.
China, which is investing billions in its military-run space programme, hopes to have a crewed space station by 2022.
Moreover, Beijing is planning to send another lander to the moon, the Chang'e-5.
It is among a slew of ambitious Chinese targets, which include a reusable launcher by 2021, a super-powerful rocket capable of delivering payloads heavier than those NASA and private rocket firm SpaceX can handle, a moon base, a permanently crewed space station, and a Mars rover.