The true face of the moon is first seen as Galileo Galilei in Padua, Italy, turns his telescope toward it for the first time and makes a drawing to record his discovery. Galileo's revolutionay treatise Starry Messenger, which appeared the following March, showed an astonished public that the moon was a cratered world, a new land to be explored.
China Says It Will Land a Probe on The Far Side of The Moon in 2018
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, 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).