Raumfahrt - China plant 2018, Change-4-Sonde auf der Rückseite des Mondes zu landen Update-1



China is planning to be the first country to land a lunar probe on the far side of the moon, a Chinese lunar probe scientist said Tuesday.
The mission will be carried out by Chang'e-4, a backup probe for Chang'e-3, and is slated to be launched before 2020, said Zou Yongliao from the moon exploration department under the Chinese Academy of Sciences at a deep-space exploration forum Tuesday.
Zou said government organs have ordered experts to assess the plan over the past 12 plus months. "China will be the first to complete the task if it is successful."
The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense announced earlier this year that Chang'e-4 will be launched before 2020.
The far side of the moon, or "dark side of the moon" as it is more commonly called, is never visible to Earth because of gravitational forces. According to Zou, the far side of the moon has a clean electromagnetic environment, which provides an ideal field for low frequency radio study. "If we can can place a frequency spectrograph on the far side, we can fill a void."
Zou said Chang'e-4 is very similar to Chang'e-3 in structure but can handle more payload. It will be used to study the geological conditions of the dark side of the moon.
China plans to launch its Chang'e-5 lunar probe around 2017 to finish the last chapter in China's three-step (orbiting, landing and return) moon exploration program.
Li Chunlai, one of the main designers of the lunar probe ground application system, said Chang'e-5 will achieve several breakthroughs, including automatic sampling, ascending from the moon without a launch site and an unmanned docking 400,000 kilometers above the lunar surface.
Chang'e-5 will also have a new launch site and launch rockets, said Li.
Chang'e-3 landed on the moon in 2013, making China the third country after the Soviet Union and the United States to soft land a spacecraft on lunar soil.
Quelle: Xinhua
Update: 15.01.2016
China to land probe on dark side of moon in 2018
BEIJING, Jan. 14 -- China has officially begun a new round of lunar exploration and will send the Chang'e-4 probe to the far side of the moon in 2018, China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) announced Thursday.
The far side of the moon is never visible to Earth because of gravitational forces and has never been explored by humans. Chang'e-4 will be the first mission in human history to embark on this expedition, said Liu Jizhong, chief of the lunar exploration center under SASTIND.
China already boasts mature science and technology for sending a probe to the far side of the moon, and is open to cooperation with international society, said Liu.
China achieved its first soft-landing on the moon with Chang'e-3 in December 2013, and it is still sending messages back to Earth.
Liu said Chang'e-4 is very similar to Chang'e-3 in structure but can handle more payload. It will be used to study the geological conditions of the dark side of the moon.
China sent a letter of intent of cooperation to foreign countries in early 2015.
China also plans to launch its Chang'e-5 lunar probe to finish the last chapter in China's three-step (orbiting, landing and return) moon exploration program. The Chang'e-5 lunar probe is now being developed by Chinese scientists, Liu said.
Quelle: Xinhua
Update: 12.02.2016

China’s Mission to Lunar Far Side
Opens New Frontier for Mankind

. . . If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join it or not, and it is one of the greatest adventures of all times, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space.
                                —John F. Kennedy,
                                   speaking at Rice University,
                                   September 12, 1962
Feb. 6—China announced Jan. 14 that it was committed to landing a rover on the far side of the Moon in order to make in situ surveys of the lunar surface. In this way, China is on the verge of opening up a new frontier for mankind’s exploration of the Galaxy. While China has only been a space-faring nation since the 1990s, its pace of development—as with China’s economic development generally—has been mind boggling. While the United States, under George W. Bush, and even more under Barack Obama, has been dismantling space capabilities built up over four decades, China is proceeding by leaps and bounds, not just to repeat what other space-faring nations have done, but now to chart new paths.
The mission of Chang’e-4 to land on the far side of the Moon before 2020 is indeed going above and beyond what other nations have achieved.1 “The implementation of the Chang’e-4 mission has helped our country make the leap from following to leading in the field of lunar exploration,” said Liu Jizhong, chief of the lunar exploration center of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.
In fact, Chinese scientists decided at the start of their lunar exploration program that each new mission would break new ground. China’s Chang’e-3 mission, which soft-landed the Yutu rover on the Moon in 2013—the first spacecraft to do so in almost 40 years—has taken the first deep subsurface lunar radar measurements ever, and made the first astronomical observations from the lunar surface. The latter were obtained with its ultraviolet telescope, called a “cosmic observatory.” A second ultraviolet instrument will study Earth’s ionosphere.
The next lunar mission, the Chang’e-5 craft,2 now being developed for a 2017 launch, will be the star of an even more ambitious mission—landing on the Moon and then returning lunar samples to the Earth.
Mission to the Far Side
The follow-on Chang’e-4 mission to the far side of the Moon, to be launched before 2020, possibly as early as 2018, has generated great interest in the space science community. While the lunar far side was first photographed by Russia’s Luna 4 spacecraft in 1959—and was seen and photographed by Apollo astronauts as they orbited the Moon—we have yet to investigate the soil and understand the evolutionary history of this mysterious, crater-filled landscape.
Chinese National Space Administration
The Chang’e-4 relay satellite in this concept drawing from June 2015.
Because the far side of the Moon never faces Earth, due to its synchronous orbit,3 the radio waves it receives from outer space can be detected without interference from the radio waves we produce on Earth. And the radio waves which cannot even be detected by ground-based radiotelescopes—since they do not penetrate Earth’s ionosphere—will be detectable.
Speaking to the Yangguang network, Liu Jizhong said, “Chang’e-4 will utilize the distinctive features of the far side which are screened from the Earth’s radio waves to develop a space science region in a forward position for a low frequency radio astronomy survey that hopefully will fill in some of the blanks in our knowledge.”
Chinese National Space Administration
The Chang’e-4 lander concept as of June 2015.
The mission will study the geology and the dust features, and how they were formed. Liu explained, “Utilizing the very old rock of the lunar crust preserved on the far side of the Moon, we can investigate its geological characteristics, and hopefully by doing that, pull together for the first time a topographical configuration of the far side, its shallow structure, the composition of the lunar material of a particular cross-section, and attain a picture of its evolution, creating new knowledge about the history of the planet.” Russian scientists have contributed a lunar dust surveyor.
The mission will also measure lunar surface residual magnetism and study its interaction with the solar wind—a magnetized plasma consisting primarily of protons and electrons.
China will send a relay satellite to orbit the Moon, enabling communication with the lander and rover from mission control, and for sending data back to Earth. The relay satellite will be launched from Earth orbit into a lunar transfer orbit first, followed by the lander and rover. The relay satellite will enter a halo orbit around the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point (see Figure 1), located about 37,000 miles (60,000 km) beyond the Moon. This is considered the best location for a near-stationary communications satellite covering the Moon’s far side, while the line of sight to Earth for radiowave communication is never blocked by the Moon. The satellite is expected to be operational for three years.
Figure 1
The relay satellite will be parked in a halo orbit around the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point. The diagram view is of the ecliptic plane, the plane defined by Earth’s orbit about the Sun. In a two-body gravitational system such as the Earth-Moon system, there are five points in space in which a small satellite can be parked with stability or near-stability. These are called Lagrange points or libration points. It is possible to put a satellite in “orbit” around the near-stable points (Lagrange points 1, 2, and 3), even though there is no mass at the Lagrange point. These are called “halo orbits.” The satellite’s trajectory is not a true orbit around the Lagrange point, but is best described a periodic trajectory around it. The Lagrange point (and the halo orbit) move with the Moon. The diagram shows the trajectory of the satellite from the time of its launch from Earth (line in black, then red).
International Support for Chang’e-4
While the usual suspects in Washington are unnerved by the prospects of “Communist” China making such progress, the U.S. and international scientific community is extremely excited. One of the largest known impact craters in the Solar System, the Moon’s South-Pole Aitken Basin, may feature exposed mantle materials, according to Clive Neal of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group affiliated with NASA. “There has been no surface exploration of the far side,” Neal told Agence France Presse. “I am sure the international lunar science community will be very excited about this mission. I know I am.”
In 2015, China sent out invitations internationally to institutions that might wish to take advantage of this mission by making proposals for experiments to be carried out on the lunar far side. While China’s space program began, as did the U.S. and Soviet programs, as primarily a military venture, it has been placed in a civilian agency. The China National Space Administration has expressed great interest in cooperating with other space agencies, and many agencies have shown a great deal of interest in such cooperation. The only outlier is the United States, where legislation passed by Congress has placed draconian restrictions on cooperation with China in space. In many respects, the Chinese program has replaced the role the U.S. program traditionally played, in encouraging space activities in all the countries of the world. For the Chang’e-4 mission, China has invited private enterprises to take part, and is conducting a competition to fly a small scientific instrument on the orbiter or lander, which will undoubtedly engage the interest of students.
China-Russia Collaboration
The success of the Chinese space program has been greatly assisted by Russia, its great neighbor to the north, which inherited the bulk of the Soviet space program. And as the Chang’e-4 mission shows, their cooperation continues. While Russia is rebuilding much of the capabilities destroyed during the Yeltsin period, it is continually under fire from the United States and its British friends, intent on “keeping Russia down.”
But Russia’s collaboration with China has been mutually beneficial, with Russia contributing its expertise in space and China prepared to invest in the development of the Russian Far East. The close relationship between China and Russia has also served to help China assume its rightful role in the world, even in an environment in which China is still seen by the West as a potentially hostile power. Chinese efforts to counter this impression are coming up against decades of Cold War propaganda, which have left its traces in the fears and antagonisms of the Western population, propaganda which is being consciously revived to serve the war-mongering stance of the Obama Administration.
The U.S. “color revolution” in Ukraine and the “pivot” to Asia have together soured the relationships between these two important nations—Russia and China—and the United States, and have placed them both on a war footing.
Nevertheless, China has continued to progress and has very successfully mobilized its neighbors and the world to participate in President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road,” a program of infrastructure investment that promises to transform the region into a transmission belt of industrial and agricultural production and cooperation between East and West.
A Stark Choice for the West
At the same time, when viewing the condition of the Western economies, one is reminded of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The U.S. economy has become a veritable rust belt, and that includes our transportation system and overall infrastructure.
The submission to Wall Street’s demands that “shareholder prices” be maintained at the cost of productive investments, including infrastructure, has driven the living standards of what were considered middle class families into bankruptcy and even homelessness. As a result, the suicide rate is increasing exponentially. And our failure to continue a “war on drugs” has condemned an ever-increasing proportion of our youth population to a lifelong addiction and, in many instances, to an early grave.
The wars of the Bush and Obama administrations have created a flood of refugees from the war-torn Middle East into a Europe already savaged by murderous austerity administered by that satrapy of the London banking system, the European Union.
The direction that the Obama Administration and the European powers have taken by meekly submitting to the dictates of a bankrupt financial system—rather than taking measures to protect the people from the depredations of an out-of-control financial oligarchy through an immediate return to the Glass-Steagall firewall—has condemned the populations of these countries to an early death, perhaps even through the nuclear holocaust that the oligarchs are intent on provoking.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The alternative has been laid out by China, Russia, and India in the Silk Road Economic Belt, the Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road, and the program of space exploration. We can depart from the dangerous game of geopolitics and join in a win-win effort to begin to rebuild the world’s crumbling physical economy.
As economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche noted in conversations with colleagues on February 1: “Now if you look at the picture of a map of society, you will say that most of the society we talk about, the trans-Atlantic community is a failure. It has been a failure. As of now, it continues to be a failure. And we are trying to kick it back into some kind of effectiveness. But, the fact is, we need to depend on the leading role of Russia and China. Now Russia and China are a different part of the whole planet than the other parts in general. India is part of this group of interest.”
President John F. Kennedy visits a NASA launch site.
What China has launched in Asia could become the path for moving humanity away from the imminent war danger and toward the “new frontier” of space, of which President Kennedy was an early leader, this time not as a space “race,” but rather as a collaborative effort of all nations to achieve the common aims of mankind.
1. “Chang’e” is the name of the Moon goddess.
2. Chang’e-5 will be launched before Chang’e-4.
3. The Moon rotates on its axis as it orbits the Earth, but the far side never faces Earth. To understand this, consider that you are the Moon. As you orbit Earth, if you do not turn, you will alternately show your face and your backside to Earth. But you could politely turn as you go, always facing Earth. (But why does the Moon maintain this synchrony? Is it really a result of gravitational interaction with Earth?)
Quelle: EIR
Update: 3.03.2016
China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon
BEIJING, China will launch a data relay satellite to ensure communication between Earth and the lunar probe during an expedition to the far side of the moon, Ye Peijian, chief scientist with China's lunar exploration program, said Tuesday.
China in January announced plans to send the Chang'e-4 probe to the dark side of the moon around 2018. Due to gravitational forces, this part of the moon is not visible to Earth and has never been explored by humans. The data relay satellite will be launched six months before the probe.
Earth can contact Chang'e-4 with the help of a "communication station" on the Lagrange point L2 of the Earth-moon system, 80,000 kilometers away from the moon, according to Ye.
"The moon is too small to block the signal transmission between Earth and the data relay satellite," said Ye.
Chang'e-1 mission in 2007 began the era of China's lunar exploration, the launch of the Chang'e-2 and Chang'e-3 followed soon after. The latter marked completion of the second phase of China's lunar program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to Earth.
Chang'e-3 delivered a rover and stationary lander to the moon in 2013, making China the third country after the Soviet Union and the United States to carry out such a mission.
China is preparing for its next lunar probe mission, Chang'e-5, which is expected to be launched around 2017.
The probe will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth.
Quelle: Xinhua
Update: 10.06.2016
To the Far Side of the Moon: China's Lunar Science Goals 
China is planning to land a probe on the far side of the moon as part of its Chang'e 4 lunar mission, with and new details about potential instruments for the spacecraft coming to light.  
Last month, scientist Y.L. Zou and colleagues from China's Key Laboratory of Lunar and Deep Space Exploration in Beijing were slated to discuss the Chang'e 4 moon mission (or CE-4 for short) during the Fourth European Lunar Symposium in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The CE-4 scientific objectives are anchored to a lander, a rover, and use of a telecommunication relay that will be sent to the Earth–moon L2 Lagrange point.
Under the current plan, CE-4 would launch toward the moon in about 2018. The weight of payloads onboard the lander total about 77 pounds (35 kilograms) and 37 pounds (17 kilograms) on the rover. [Chang'e 3 in Photos: China's 1st Moon Landing & Lunar Rover]
China's Yutu lunar rover took this image of Change'3 lander. New lunar landers are being readied for China's next step in Moon exploration.
Credit: NAOC/Chinese Academy of Sciences
Lunar objectives
CE-4 mission "propositional payloads" involve six on the lander, five payloads on the rover, and one payload on the telecommunication relay orbiter. The researchers report that the scientific objectives of CE-4 are many, including:
Study the characteristics and the formation mechanism of lunar surface floating dust;
To measure lunar surface temperature, analyzing its change with time and in different light conditions;
Measure the chemical compositions of lunar rocks and soils and study their distribution;
Carry out lunar surface low-frequency radio astronomical observation and research;
Identify the structure of cosmic rays, and to find the possible original position for these cosmic rays;
Observe the independent kilometer wave burst event from the high layer of the solar corona, investigate its radiation characteristics and mechanism, and to explore the evolution and transport of coronal mass ejection (CME) between the Sun and Earth.
Radio astronomy station
Once on the moon, the CE-4 lander would use cameras, a dust-analyzer, and other instruments.
Firmly footed on the bleak lunar terrain, the lander would also serve as a lunar far side radio astronomical station, staging low, mid and high-frequency sweeps of space from the lunar surface.
Along with other devices, the Chinese lunar rover is expected to be equipped with ground-penetrating radar.
Probing look at lunar ionosphere
In related moon research, another paper that was scheduled to be presented at the meeting details probing of the lunar ionosphere. This investigation made use of a service module now in lunar orbit. That module was a component of China's circumlunar return and re-entry mission that occurred in late 2014.
The circumlunar return and re-entry spacecraft — commonly tagged as Chang'e 5-T1 — was launched on Oct. 23, 2014 and nine days later the return vehicle landed at Inner Mongolia successfully. The service module performed a divert maneuver to avoid re-entry and moved to the Earth-moon L2 point (EML2).
After releasing a test return capsule to Earth, the solar-powered service module first loitered at Earth-Moon L2 and then moved into orbit around the Moon.
Credit: CCTV/China Space Website
That module remained at that location until Jan. 4, 2015 then conducted a departure maneuver to leave EML2 and begin a transition into lunar orbit. The module arrived on Jan. 11, 2015 in lunar orbit and then lowered closer to the Moon. It imaged the target landing zone for the 2017 Chinese lunar sample return mission — Chang'e 5 — a touchdown site which has yet to be disclosed.
Radio occultation finding
"During this period, we performed the radio occultation experiment to detect the lunar ionosphere," notes M. Y. Wang of China's National Astronomical Observatories.
Illustration of the service module of the circumlunar return and reentry spacecraft mission used for a radio occultation experiment.
Credit: M.Y. Wang/National Astronomical Observatories
The observation confirms the presence of a large ionosphere surrounding the moon, and data was collected on the total electron content, M.Y. Wang and his research colleagues report.
They add in their abstract for the recent meeting: "In the future, we will perform more observation and work on the lunar ionosphere and its distribution characteristics."
Quelle: SC
Update: 14.06.2016

China’s chief Moon scientist Ziyuan Ouyang outlines lunar plans

The Moon man: Ziyuan Ouyang in his office at the National Astronomical Observatories with a lunar globe covered with images taken by Chinese craft. (Courtesy: Mingfang Lu)
I caught up this morning on the second day of my visit to Beijing with Ziyuan Ouyang, chief scientist of China’s Moon programme at the National Astronomical Observatories, which lies not far from the city’s iconic “bird’s-nest” Olympic stadium.
I’d first met Ouyang on my last visit in 2011 when the country had so far launched two lunar missions – Chang’e 1 (which orbited the Moon for 18 months before crash-landing onto the lunar surface) and Chang’e 2 (another lunar orbiter that later moved off into interplanetary space).
China’s lunar efforts have continued and Ouyang explained to me what has happened since my last visit – and what the country plans to do next.
In 2013 China’s Chang’e 3 mission soft-landed on the Moon, its rover transmitting data about the lunar surface before signals stopped in April 2105. Like all Chinese lunar missions, it’s named after the country’s goddess of the Moon.
Next up, Ouyang explained, is Chang’e 5, which will be China’s first lunar sample-return mission. Due to take off next year, Chang’e 5 will drill a hole two metres deep in the lunar surface, scoop out at least a kilogram of Moon rocks and load them onto a capsule that will be fired back to Earth. The Russians and Americans have returned Moon rocks to Earth before, but this will be the first time Chinese scientists have pulled off that feat.
Carrying such a heavy payload back home will require clever ways of cooling and decelerating the craft as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, but fortunately Chinese researchers last year launched a simulator to practise the maneouvre.
In 2018, meanwhile, China is planning to launch the world’s first ever mission to land on the far side of the Moon. In addition to a lander and rover, Chang’e 4 will consist of a satellite at the Earth–Moon system’s second Lagrangian point, meaning that it’s always facing the far side of the Moon and so can beam data back to Earth even though that part of the lunar surface is hidden from view.
Looking even further ahead, China wants to send a mission to Mars by 2020, using a lander and rover to study the Martian climate and create a map of the surface that’s more accurate than any other country has managed. Ouyang even claims the mission will seek ways of changing Mars’s climate to render it more suitable for potential human astronauts on the red planet.
Whether that’s possible I’m not sure, but you have to admire Ouyang – still going strong at the age of 81 – for thinking big.
Quelle: physicsworld
Update: 15.06.2016
China Exclusive: China to send Chang'e-4 to south pole of moon's far-side
BEIJING,  China aims to send the Chang'e-4 lunar probe to land in the south pole region of the far side of the moon in 2018, according to China National Space Administration (CNSA).
Scientists plan to send a relay satellite for Chang'e-4 to the halo orbit of the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point L2 in late May or early June 2018, and then launch the Chang'e-4 lunar lander and rover to the Aitken Basin of the south pole region about half a year later, said Liu Tongjie, deputy director of the CNSA's Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center.
"We plan to land Chang'e-4 at the Aitken Basin because the region is believed to be a place with great scientific research potential," Liu told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
With its special environment and complex geological history, the far side of the moon is a hot spot for scientific and space exploration. However, landing and roving there requires the relay satellite to transmit signals.
The transmission channel is limited, and the landscape is rugged, so the Chang'e-4 mission will be more complicated than Chang'e-3, China's first soft landing mission on the moon, which was completed in 2013, said Liu.
The lander of Chang'e-4 will be equipped with descent and terrain cameras, and the rover will be equipped with a panoramic camera, he said. Like China's first lunar rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, carried by Chang'e-3, the rover of Chang'e-4 will carry subsurface penetrating radar to detect the near surface structure of the moon, and an infrared spectrometer to analyze the chemical composition of lunar samples.
But unlike Chang'e-3, the new lander will be equipped with an important scientific payload especially designed for the far side of the moon: a low-frequency radio spectrometer.
"Since the far side of the moon is shielded from electromagnetic interference from the Earth, it's an ideal place to research the space environment and solar bursts, and the probe can 'listen' to the deeper reaches of the cosmos," Liu said.
The Chang'e-4 probe will also carry three scientific payloads respectively developed by the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, according to Liu.
"It's in-depth, friendly and win-win international cooperation under the leadership of the CNSA," said Liu. "The cooperation will help engineers and scientists from different countries study together. Scientists could conduct joint research and share scientific data."
The low-frequency radio spectrometer, developed in the Netherlands, will be installed on the Chang'e-4 relay satellite. The Dutch and Chinese low-frequency radio instruments will conduct unique scientific studies such as measuring auroral radio emissions from the large planets in the solar system, determining the radio background spectrum at the Earth-Moon L2 points, creating a new low-frequency map of the radio sky, and detecting bright pulsars and other radio transient phenomena.
"The Chinese and Dutch low-frequency radio spectrometers on the lander and relay satellite of Chang'e-4 might help us detect the 21-cm hydrogen line radiation and study how the earliest stars were ignited and how our cosmos emerged from darkness after the Big Bang," said Chen Xuelei, an astronomer with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The rover will also carry an advanced small analyzer for neutrals, developed in Sweden, to study the interaction between solar winds and the moon surface.
And a neutron dosimeter, developed in Germany, will be installed on the lander to measure radiation at the landing site. Scientists say it is essential to investigate the radiation environment on the lunar surface, in preparation for human missions to the moon.
The Chinese public, especially young people, are encouraged to participate in the Chang'e-4 mission. The CNSA launched a contest among students across China at the beginning of this year, collecting creative ideas on the design of the payloads on the lander, rover and relay satellite.
"We received a total of 257 submissions, and 20 items entered the primary selection. The final result will be announced in September after online voting and expert evaluation," Liu said.
According to the website of the CNSA's Lunar and Deep Space Exploration, entries including a micro-ecological circulation system, a deep lunar soil temperature detector, a 3D printing technology using lunar soil and a sound transmission experiment device have proved to be the most popular in online voting.
"The contest is based on creativity, but engineering feasibility has to be considered," Liu said. "We'll try to select one or two items eventually to take to the moon."
Quelle: Xinhua
Update: 23.07.2016

Q&A: China lunar chief plots voyage to far side of moon

As chief designer for the China National Space Administration's (CNSA’s) Chang'e lunar exploration program, Wu Weiren oversaw the Chang’e-3 mission that in late 2013 landed and released a rover on the moon's surface—the first soft touchdown on Earth’s satellite since a Soviet mission in 1976.
Two even more ambitious missions are on the way as China continues its rapid ascent in space science. Next year, Chang'e-5 will land, scrape up surface soil and rocks, drill down 2 meters for samples, and return the haul to Earth, all within 2 weeks or so. In 2018, CNSA, which runs the lunar program, will attempt the first ever landing on the far side of the moon. Remote observations of the far side’s geology have convinced some planetary scientists that it is the most accessible location in the solar system to study planetary accretion, crust formation, and the effects of impacts. An engineer, Wu concedes that engineering has priority in China’s lunar program: Without solid engineering, he says, scientific objectives cannot be realized.
The interview, conducted at CNSA headquarters in Beijing, was edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: Is Chang'e-3 still making observations?
A: It is. It has been functioning for more than 30 months. It has already fulfilled completely its scientific and engineering missions and is currently working overtime, conducting scientific observations, and testing [spacecraft components] for endurance.
Q: What is the schedule for Chang'e-5? Is the landing site on the moon's Ocean of Storms?
A: Chang'e-5 will be launched next year. We can't be too specific because of various factors but let's say the second half of next year. The Ocean of Storms is a big [region]. We don't want to duplicate [the Russian and U.S.] landing locations. So we're choosing in this [region] but with some consideration for an unprecedented landing site. From the launch until the samples return to Earth would be about a couple dozen days.
Q: Regarding Chang'e-4, is it correct that there will be a communications relay satellite launched in June 2018, and then the Chang'e-4 spacecraft itself with its rover launched before the end of 2018?
A: It is roughly correct. It depends very much on various factors when to launch this mission. But we are pretty sure it will be conducted by the year 2018. The mission includes a relay satellite, a lander, as well as a rover. 
Q: Chang'e-4 was developed as a backup to Chang'e-3, with a lander and rover. Will the scientific instruments be similar?
A: We do not want to duplicate [the Chang'e-3] effort. So Chang'e-4 will have new instruments and upgraded instruments. In terms of categories, the first would be topography, to see the overall landscape of the moon. The second category would be geology, to further explore the geologic characteristics of the [moon]. The third category would be astronomy, observing the universe, and also solar activity, from the far side of the moon. [That will be] unprecedented.
Q: Will there be a Chang'e-6?
A: It is the Chinese practice to make redundant missions. Chang'e-6 is a backup for Chang'e-5. Once Chang'e-5 achieves complete success, the mission of Chang'e-6 will be redefined. [Launch] won't happen for a few years after Chang'e-5.
Q: Which has been more important: advancing your technological capabilities or the scientific objectives?
A: Engineering objectives have always been given priority in our lunar missions. We have to guarantee that we can access space, access a lunar orbit, and the lunar surface to realize the scientific objectives. We look carefully at our engineering objectives and the competences that we have and then based on that we design our scientific objectives.
Quelle: AAAS
Update: 2.01.2018
China Prepares for Breakthrough Chang'e 4 Moon Landing in 2018

2018 could see a breakthrough in lunar exploration: China is planning a mission that, if successful, will see a space landing on the far side of the moon for the first time.

The first part of China's Chang'e 4 space mission will launch in June. A Long March 4C rocket will carry a 425kg relay satellite and station it some 60,000km behind the moon. A second launch later in the year will send a lander and rover to the far side of the moon, guided to a safe landing by the satellite.

Aboard the Chang'e 4 lander will equipment to study the geological conditions of the region, as well as a container made from aluminium alloy filled with seeds and insects.They will be used to test whether plants and animals could be grown on the moon.

"The container will send potatoes, arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs to the surface of the Moon. The eggs will hatch into silkworms, which can produce carbon dioxide, while the potatoes and seeds emit oxygen through photosynthesis. Together, they can establish a simple ecosystem on the Moon," Zhang Yuanxun, chief designer of the container, told the Chongqing Morning Post, according to China Daily.

Another advantage of a mission to the far side of the moon, is that a radio telescope stationed there would be undisturbed by radio signals coming from Earth, such as FM radio and the planet's ionosphere.

Astrophysicist Professor Heino Falcke of Radboud University, Nijmegen (The Netherlands) told the Guardian that he has been in talks with the Chinese and is hoping that his radio telescope will make it onto the mission. Falcke aims to use the telescope to detect low-frequency radio waves from the early universe.

"I think we built up a lot of good relations in China and there is goodwill on both sides to make this happen," the scientist said.

Quelle: SD


Update: 12.01.2018


Testing on China's Chang'e-4 lunar far side lander and rover steps up in preparation for launch

The lander and rover which China aims to soft-land on the far side of the Moon have entered mechanical environmental testing as preparations for launch in late 2018 step up.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the Chinese space programme, stated yesterday that testing had started following recently completed experiments.

The process will typically involve verifying system performance while experiencing vibrations similar to those during launch and flight as well as thermal vacuum and anechoic chamber tests.

Chang'e-4 was originally manufactured at the same time as Chang'e-3 spacecraft in order to provide a backup. Testing for Chang'e-4 will also likely involve lunar landing and lunar surface simulation for the six-wheeled rover, as with the previous mission.

CASC states that new technologies have added additional challenges to the development of China's fourth lunar mission, and includes the integration of payloads provided by international cooperation.


Chang'e-4 team members testing the six-wheeled rover, similar to the Yutu (Jade Rabbit) rover that set down on the Moon in late 2013. CASC

Launch plans and relay satellite

The lander and rover are expected to be launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan in November or December this year.

Before this, in May or June, a relay satellite will be launched from same site, which will head for a Lagrange point beyond the Moon from which it can facilitate communication between the ground and the spacecraft on the lunar far side, which due to tidal locking never faces Earth.

A soft-landing on the far side of the Moon has never been attempted, though a US Decadal Survey has highlighted the significance of such as mission.

If all goes smoothly the mission will earn China international prestige but also likely significant scientific returns.

The candidate landing sites are within the South Pole–Aitken basin, a huge crater that may include lunar mantle excavated by the impact that formed it and thus offer unique insights into the interior of the Moon, what is made of, and how it formed.

The mission includes a mini ecosystem including potatoes, arabidopsis seeds and silkworm eggs, and further payloads including radio telescopes to take advantage of radio silence provided by the shielding from the Earth provided by the Moon.

Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia are all also involved in the mission through various payloads.


The far side of the Moon and the distant Earth, imaged by the Chang'e-5T1 mission in 2014. Chinese Academy of Sciences

Quelle: gbtimes

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