On Jan. 3, 2019, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 4 (above) safely landed on the Far Side floor of the Moon’s Von Kármán crater, naming the site, “Milky Way Base.” Located within an even larger four-billion-year-old impact crater known as the South Pole–Aitken basin roughly 2,500 kilometers in diameter and 13 kilometers deep –the largest impact crater in the Solar System –it now appears that the “Milky Way Base” sits atop of an abnormally massive blob buried deep below.
China’s fourth Chang’E probe (CE-4) was the first mission to land on the far side of the moon, and it has collected new evidence from the South Pole-Aitken Basin, the largest crater in the solar system, clarifying how the moon may have evolved providing a window into the evolution of Earth and other terrestrial planets because its surface is relatively untouched compared for example, to the early surface of Earth.
China has named the landing site of its Chang’e-4 lunar probe “Statio Tianhe” –after the Chinese name for the Milky Way Galaxy for the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon last month. The Chang’e-4 probe, launched on December 8, landed on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on January 3. As of today, a total of 12 lunar features have been named by China.
On Jan. 3, 2019, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 4 safely landed on the floor of the Moon’s Von Kármán crater (186 kilometer diameter) located within an even larger impact crater known as the South Pole–Aitken basin roughly 2,500 kilometers in diameter and 13 kilometers deep –the largest impact crater in the Solar System.
China’s reach into space has extended to the Americas with a 450-ton, $50 million satellite and space mission control station built by the Chinese military in the Patagonian desert in Argentina. The station, built in March, is an important event in China’s race to become the first to explore the dark side of the moon. In some ways, though, this space station serves more than just as a research station for the benefit of mankind; in the US’ eyes, it is beginning to look more and more like China’s way of expanding its reach, although China stresses the US is jumping to premature conclusions.