Launched on December 3, the Chang'e-4 is "now expected to study the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure of the moon's far side, as well as perform low-frequency radio astronomical observation", according to the state-owned China Global Television Network.
Another glimpse of the moon's far side from Chang'e-4's perspective. The mission is being handled by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), which is hoping to explore the moon's South Pole-Aitken basin.
China plans to send its Chang'e 5 probe to the moon next year and have it return to Earth with samples‚ the first time that will have been done since 1976.
After the successful landing, experts verified the conditions of "Queqiao", meaning Magpie Bridge, which was launched in May of 2018 to set up the communication link between the Earth and the moon's far side.
Months back, China launched relay satellites that help the lander and rover to remain in contact with its handlers on Earth despite not being in direct line-of-sight.
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Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb said that in the future, it may be possible to see much farther - and thus earlier - into the universe from the far side because the moon itself will block interfering radio signals from Earth. However, other Chinese media including the state-run China Central Television and the Communist Party of China-owned Global Times later confirmed Chang'e 4 had touched down on the lunar surface, per the Guardian.
China Daily reports the spacecraft entered an elliptical lunar orbit over the weekend, passing as close as 15 kilometers above the moon's surface. The other side, most of which can not be seen from the Earth, is called the far side or dark side because most of it is uncharted.
The far side has been mapped by several orbiting craft over the years.
The spacecraft is largely a clone of Chang'e-3, which landed on the moon in 2013.
"Scientists believe that the back of the moon is more ancient than the front", CNSA explains (via translation). The site could end up being an important one for refueling during space exploration.
The landing was "a big deal" because it used an engineering technique of the spacecraft itself choosing a safe place to touch down in treacherous terrain, something called autonomous hazard avoidance, said Purdue University lunar and planetary scientist Jay Melosh.