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China Says It Will Land a Probe on The Far Side of The Moon in 2018
PETER DOCKRILL 18 JAN 2016
In what will be a first for science, China has announced its intention to land a probe on the dark side of the Moon, exploring lunar territory that has never been seen up close by human eyes.
The new mission will see China's Chang'e-4 probe investigate the dark side of the Moon in 2018, according to a report by Xinhua, the state-run news agency. While the dark side of the Moon has been observed from orbit and photographed (not to mention sensationally GIF'd), it's never been explored by human astronauts nor landed upon by spacecraft.
The dark side is so-called because it always faces away from Earth due to gravitational forces, with the 'dark' in the name historically imputing that we can't see or understand it, rather than it actually being physically dark. But that meaning will become even more anachronistic soon, with China's mission set to bring us into direct contact with the Moon's most mysterious territory.
"The Chang'e-4's lander and rover will make a soft landing on the back side of the Moon, and will carry out in-place and patrolling surveys," Liu Jizhong, China's lunar exploration chief, told the press.
China's swiftly developing space program initially replicated feats already achieved by the US and others, but this latest mission provides growing evidence that in recent years the nation has become serious about setting records of its own.
"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.
Chang'e-4 will follows China's successful Chang'e-3 mission, which soft-landed on the Moon in 2013, becoming the first spacecraft to do so in almost 40 years (and which has turned up things about the Moon we never knew, and the mission is still giving us new data).
After Chang'e-4, an upcoming Chang'e-5 craft now being developed will be the star of an even more ambitious mission – landing on the Moon and then returning to Earth.
According to Liu, the Chang'e-4 probe is very similar to Chang'e-3 in structure but can handle a larger payload. The spacecraft – and any rover it contains – will study geological conditions of the dark side of the Moon.
This research could tell us all sorts of new things about the Moon, in particular bringing the possibility of exploring the lunar surface in the South Pole-Aitken basin. One of the largest known impact craters in the Solar System, this gigantic hole may feature exposed mantle materials, according to Clive Neal of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, which is affiliated with NASA.
"There has been no surface exploration of the far side," he told AFP. "I am sure the international lunar science community will be very excited about this mission. I know I am."
Did Venus Give Earth the Moon? Wild New Theory on Lunar History
This illustration shows the still-molten moon just after its formation about 4.5 billion years ago.
Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
LONDON —The Earth's moon may be a present from Venus, which once had a moon and then lost it, a new theory suggests. Under the theory, Earth's gravity captured Venus' old moon, giving our planet its big natural satellite.
This idea contrasts to the thinking of the vast majority of moon researchers, who believe that the Earth's moon formed some 4.5 billion years ago when a planet-size body slammed into nascent Earth at high speed.
This giant impact hypothesis, however, has its own issues, as did all the alternative moon formation theories discussed this week at the Origin of the Moon conference at the Royal Society here. [The Moon: 10 Surprising Lunar Facts]
"I think part of the key to [understanding] the moon may be that Venus has no moon, and we certainly have to study it (Venus) more," said Dave Stevenson, professor of planetary science at the California Institute of Technology, who proposed the Venus idea at the conference. In an interview with SPACE.com after his presentation, Stevenson said that he himself favored the impact theory on moon formation, but unfortunately this theory did not yet answer all the questions.
How did Earth get its moon?
The "moon capture" theory assumes that Earth used its gravitational pull to attract a pre-formed space body into its orbit, thus making a satellite of this object. [How the Moon Formed: A Lunar Tour (Video)]
However, the geochemical composition of the moon and Earth likely trips up this theory. Analyses of the lunar rocks brought back by NASA's Apollo moon landing missions have shown that the satellite has an isotopic composition very similar to that of Earth.
Isotopes refer to varieties of chemical elements that have the same number of protons, but different numbers of neutrons. Two isotopes behave the same chemically.
And if both moon and Earth have very similar isotopes, it makes the capture theory difficult to maintain, said Alex Halliday, head of science at Oxford University. Such isotopic similarities suggest that "the material that makes up the moon did actually either come out of the Earth, or that the stuff that was in the disk that formed the moon got completely mixed up with the stuff in the Earth."
The Earth is flat. We never landed on the moon. Tupac is alive and well, living in Cuba and still releasing music to this day. Conspiracy theories are all over the internet. Why do some people believe in conspiracy theories, and can you change the mind of someone who believes in one?
Conspiracy theories are nothing new, but with the internet and the rise of social media, conspiracy theories are getting in front of a lot of eyeballs. After the Sandy Hook school shooting in late 2012, a term that started on underground blogs went mainstream — CRISIS ACTORS. Conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones started pushing a narrative that the school shooting never happened, and that that the victims weren’t students but instead were paid actors.
Sometimes, conspiracy theories can spill out into the real world and do actual damage — like when a man armed with a rifle entered a Washington DC-area pizzeria, convinced that the restaurant was involved in a sex trafficking operation masterminded by Hillary Clinton. He didn’t find anything but a bunch of now-freaked-out people eating pizza.
But have you ever sat down and tried to argue with someone who believes in a conspiracy theory? Can you change a conspiracy theorist’s mind?
What is a conspiracy theory?
A conspiracy theory is a belief that an organization is working in secret to achieve some sinister goal.
Are conspiracy theories always false?
Not always. They usually are false, but they can be true. For example, back in the 1950’s and 60’s, there was a conspiracy theory claiming that the CIA was using U.S. citizens to conduct secret mind control experiments. Surprisingly, that theory turned out to be true. The project was called MK Ultra, and it was indeed an experiment run by the CIA. Congressional testimony in the late 1970’s showed that it was real and did, in fact, happen.
What is illusory pattern perception?
Illusory pattern perception is when your brain perceives a pattern when one doesn’t actually exist. Humans are primed to see patterns, so this actually happens more often than you probably realize.
Survey of conspiracy theory beliefs in the U.S.
Project MK Ultra congressional testimony
The psychology of conspiracy theories
Illusory pattern perception predicts belief in conspiracies and the supernatural
Lacking control increases illusory pattern perception
Stress doesn’t cause ulcers
Australian pair wins Nobel prize for stomach ulcer research
originally posted by: Phage
Dark side of the Moon.
Does that mean that they are going to land at night? Because, like Earth, all "sides" of the Moon experience sunlight. Though the days on the Moon are longer than those on Earth, 'bout 28 Earth days.
That article from space.com is pretty old.