Chinese spacecraft hoping to reach the dark side of the moon has entered lunar orbit after a voyage of 240,000 miles lasting 110 hours
China's mission to the dark side of the moon has successfully entered a stable orbit around our natural satellite.
The 240,000 mile long (385,000km) journey took 110 hours to complete and saw Chang'e-4 enter into an elliptical orbit 80 miles above the surface.
It is expected to land on the dark side of the moon at some point in early January, but the country's secretive space agency has not announced a set date.
Retrorockets on the probe fired on 12 December to stabilise the spacecraft and slow it down.
Chang'e-4 will target the South Pole-Aitken basin's Von Karman crater, the largest in the entire solar system at 15,000 miles (24,000km) across and eight miles deep.
It took off from the Xichang satellite launch centre in Sichuan, south-west China at 6:30 GMT on December 7 atop a Long March-3B rocket.
It is expected to perform a 'soft-landing' and land on the moon after completing its 27 day journey through space.
Exploring the huge divot on the surface of the moon may shed new light on its history and geology by collecting rocks that have never been seen before.
Researchers hope the huge depth of the crater will allow them to study the moon's mantle, the layer underneath the surface, of the moon.
Chang'e-4 has been described as 'hugely ambitious' and heralded as a sign of China's growing intentions to rival the space exploration prowess of the US, Russia and the EU.
To facilitate communication between controllers on Earth and the Chang'e-4 mission, China launched a relay satellite named Queqiao on 20 May and is now stationed in operational orbit about 40,000 miles beyond the moon.
This will be the primary form of communication between Earth and the spacecraft.
China's latest mission closely follows the touchdown of NASA's InSight spacecraft on Mars on Monday at a site less than 400 miles (640 kilometres) from the American rover Curiosity, the only other working robot on Mars.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46713.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
Saryne, Hereford, 3 days ago
To see never before seen rocks...NASA provides a photo...
secreto, London, 3 days ago
And would you believe it the probe malfunctions just as they approach the dark side of the moon.
Up South, Melbourne, Australia, 5 days ago
It's the FAR side, not the dark side, they are aiming for. Is it too much to expect for the media to employ people competent to write science stories ?