Back in 2016, China had expressed their interest in landing on the moon, but not the part which other countries have landed on, but rather the dark side of the moon. Now it looks like they might have been successful in doing so, according to reports where it was revealed that the country’s Chang’e probe made a successful landing on the far side of the moon.
The initial reports came from state-run media China Daily and CGTN. Their initial tweets celebrating the launch were deleted, but later China Daily made a similar tweet and was followed by state broadcast CCTV who confirmed the successful landing.
According to Malcolm Davis, senior analyst in defence strategy and capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, “There’s a lot of geopolitics or astropolitics about this, it’s not just a scientific mission, this is all about China’s rise as a superpower. There’s a lot of enthusiasm for the space program in China. There’s a lot of nationalism in China, they see China’s role in space as a key part of their rise.”
The decision to land on the far side of the moon is to take detailed measurements of the moon’s terrain and mineral composition. This is because there is belief that during the moon’s early history, there might have been a giant collision which caused the formation of the Aitken basin. With Chang’e landing on the moon, it could be used to collect those details to give us a better idea of how it formed.