China says it exchanged data with NASA on far side of moon


Now China has shared video footage of the landing of Chang'e 4 showing the first time that man put a vehicle on to the lunar far side.

The Chang'e 4 now sits at an altitude of about minus 6,000 meters, which was one of the intents of this mission, said Li Chunlai, deputy director of the National Astronomical Observatories of China and commander in chief of the ground application system for Chang'e 4. He said NASA's satellite did not catch the precise moment of landing, but took photographs of the area afterward.

NASA has not published any statements on the collaboration and could not immediately be reached for comment.

The lunar mission by Chang'e 4 and its rover, Jade Rabbit 2, was a triumph for China's growing space program, which has been rapidly catching up with those of Russian Federation and the U.S. President Xi Jinping has placed space exploration among the country's national development priorities and the far side mission offered a chance for China to do something not done before by any other country.

The relatively unexplored far side of the moon faces away from Earth and is also known as the dark side.

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The Chang'e 4 was set to enter a low-power sleep mode over the weekend as the sun set on its landing site. The Chang'e 4′s mission, among other things, is to investigate the geological history of the moon, and in turn perhaps reveal a bit more about the formation of the solar system.

China successfully put a lander and rover combo onto the surface of the moon becoming the first nation to explore the far side of the moon from its surface.

Officials at the briefing declined to give specific figures on the costs of the space program.

The Chang'e-5 probe, originally scheduled to collect moon samples in the second half of 2017, will launch by the end of the year, Wu said. He said the spending needed to refit it for its new objective was akin to repairing a short section of subway line. Scientists are still researching whether to send Chinese astronauts, Wu said.