back to article China names the date for dark side moon landing

China has let it be known its Chang'e-4 lander will touch down on the dark side of the moon some time in 2018. State-directed organ Xinhua reports that the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense has picked the year after next for its landing. Chang'e-4 will land on the dark side and stay …

  1. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good for them

    Up with this kind of thing.

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Trollface

      ..so long as they don't disturb the alien base.

      Or at least keep it a secret if they do.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: ..so long as they don't disturb the alien base.

        Or the Nazi base (see "Iron Sky" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034314/)

  2. Jos V

    Had to...

    I know I know. But it was in the Floyd pictured album in eclipse where the text ""There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark." came from. Shall we keep it as the FAR side of the moon then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Had to...

      The Chinese article (English version) says:

      "It will be used to study the geological conditions of the dark side of the moon."

      We have to take them at their word, don't we?

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Had to...

        "We have to take them at their word, don't we?"

        Of course not, don't be silly. They'll have a whole bunch of black-on-black photos to prove it...!

        1. weegie38

          Re: Had to...

          I believe Mission Control's colour scheme is really funky. Every time you try to operate one of the weird black controls, which are labeled in black on a black background, a small black light lights up black to let you know you've done it.

          (with apols to DNA)

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Had to...

      The original title of DSOTM was 'Eclipse'. Another album of that name was released around the same time so they had to change the title. The rest, as they say is history.

    3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Had to...

      "Shall we keep it as the FAR side of the moon then?"

      But then El Reg would be compelled to illustrate the article with a Gary Larsen cartoon and nobody wants that do they?

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Brent Longborough
    WTF?

    Just one question

    I assume that "dark side of the Moon" means "the side that faces away from Earth", since no side of the Moon is permanently in the dark.

    How are they going to communicate with it when it lands?

    1. stuartnz

      Re: Just one question

      Maybe an orbiter is planned as well, for communication relays?

      1. mhenriday
        Pint

        Re: Just one question

        indeed, 嫦娥四号 (Chang'e 4) is the name of the lunar orbiter - what its lander will be called has not yet, AFAIK, been released....

        Henri

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dark spot of the Moon?

      Although there is no dark side of the Moon, there are a few spots which are "permanently" (ie for 10^9 years or more) in solar shadow.

      See eg: http://spie.org/newsroom/technical-articles-archive/4178-seeing-in-the-dark-exposing-the-moons-permanently-shadowed-craters

    3. gzuckier

      Re: Just one question

      Since we can't see the far side, how do we know it isn't always dark? Maybe there's a big umbrella.

    4. gzuckier

      Re: Just one question

      And after successfully landing on the dark side of the moon, there will be race to see who can land on the dark side of the sun.

  4. Lars Silver badge
    Alien

    I doubt

    I doubt they will find any of this around.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wmJsXO7Qeg

  5. Alan Mac

    Space exploration is fascinating. I wish more countries did it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Curious timing..

    Chinese buy up Legendary Studios then announce flip side landing ETA......wonder if Nolan will be directing this time round?

  7. Alister Silver badge

    Hopefully not too similar: the “Jade Rabbit” lander dispatched on Chang'e-3 experienced a mechanical control abnormality and then broke down completely after only a couple of months' operations.

    Given that the Jade Rabbit was China's first attempt, I find the tone of the above a bit strange. "broke down completely after only a couple of months" seems to suggest this was somehow a failure.

    When you look at how many NASA landers and probes failed to function at all, the fact that Jade Rabbit lasted a couple of months seems to me to be worthy of praise, not condemnation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I noticed it too. Two months working time for a first attempt interplanetary rover is more than adequate for success.

      1. DocJames

        interplanetary rover

        Does going to the moon count as interplanetary? Genuine question.

        I too am in awe of the engineering that was as successful as 2 months working life after launch, space travel, landing...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "Does going to the moon count as interplanetary? Genuine question."

          Maybe someone predesignated the Moon as a dwarf planet?

        2. Alister Silver badge

          Does going to the moon count as interplanetary? Genuine question.

          My personal view is that you would have to travel outside of the furthest orbit of any planet's moon(s) to really count as an interplanetary journey, but I'm not sure that's the widely accepted definition.

    2. mhenriday
      Boffin

      As a matter of fact,

      玉兔 (Yutu - English translation : Jade Rabbit) did not «br[eak] down completely after a couple of months' operation» While the rover found itself unable to as planned move its solar panels to the insulating position during Lunar nights, thus exposing internal components to the lunar cold, as of the end of October 2015 it was still transmitting and had set the record for the longest operational period of any lunar rover. Is it too much to ask that Mr Sharwood checks the facts of the matter before posting articles to the Reg ?...

      Henri

  8. nilfs2
    Joke

    They are looking for new customers

    They want to manufacture cheap, low quality alien gizmos

  9. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So, still no people, then? Just the equivalent of a radio controlled go cart with a kid's shovel on the front.

    Glad to see China has lost the vision too. For a few years I was afraid they'd beat everyone else back to the moon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      That depends on whether you get your "vision" from science fiction, or if you are interested in actual science. Operating rovers on the moon for more than a few days is challenging because of the large temperature variations, and nothing has landed on the far side yet. They will need an orbiter for communications.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        Ooh, and do you think Science Fiction is Star Wars and Babylon 5? Good hit!

        But, not so much SF as extension of been there, done that. Or did you forget we've shown that people can go to the Moon and camp there for a bit before coming back?

        The challenge you speak of is uncontestable, but doesn't detract from the essential boring nature of yet one more luggage trolley in space.

        The real challenge that just about anyone on the planet could get behind, either for or against, would be to put people on the far side of the moon.

        This Moon Roomba simply oozes Meh.

        1. gzuckier

          Re: Bah!

          The true purpose of the mission is to find the Lunar Rover we left behind so they can copy it.

      2. gzuckier

        Re: Bah!

        That's where the Chinese advantage is. Being on the far side of the earth, they can see the far side of the moon.

        Consider; we here on the near side of the earth can see the near side of the moon; but we can see neither the far side of the moon, nor the far side of the earth. Obviously the situation is reversed in the case of China.

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