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China aims to be first to land probe on moon's far side

  1. Sep 13, 2015 #1
    China aims to be first to land probe on moon's far side

    China's increasingly ambitious space program plans to attempt the first-ever landing of a lunar probe on the moon's far side, a leading engineer said.

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  3. Sep 13, 2015 #2

    Drakkith

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    I wasn't aware that no one had landed a probe on the far side of the Moon before.
     
  4. Sep 13, 2015 #3
    Are communications more difficult?
     
  5. Sep 13, 2015 #4

    Drakkith

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    I assume so. I don't think any of our deep space communication equipment can talk with the far side of the Moon, but I'm not certain.
     
  6. Sep 14, 2015 #5

    mfb

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    You need an orbiter around Moon. In principle probes at the Earth/Sun Lagrangian points or around the Earth/Moon L2 would work as well, but the larger distance means the data rate goes down, and I'm not aware of satellites there designed for such a task.

    Interplanetary communication (e. g. with probes on Mars) works well with a huge antenna on Earth, but a satellite-to-satellite communication like that would give a negligible data rate.
     
  7. Sep 14, 2015 #6
    Did anyone read the book, 2010: Odyssey Two? By Arthur C. Clarke? I did. I actually claim that the movie adaptation with Roy Scheider (1984) is my favorite movie of all time (I always wanted to be Heywood Floyd with the hot Oceanographer wife and the dolphin pool inside my kitchen), with the movie "Pi" (1998) coming in a close second.

    In any case, Arthur had the prescience to have a spot in the book (if my memory serves correct) where the Chinese beat us to the first landing on Europa, only to be greeted by creepy, black tentacles emerging through cracks in the ice to suck them down underneath that icy crust. Of course, their radio communications got abruptly interrupted. I don't know if Europa has an atmosphere, but I hear that in space, "no one can hear you scream." :H

    Let's just hope that the Chinese don't encounter this same fate on the dark side of the moon...
     
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