TOUCHDOWN

China Lunar Rover Lands on Far Side of Moon in Historic First

China has pulled off the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, state media announced Thursday. According to China Central Television (CCTV), China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) successfully landed the Chang’e 4 lunar probe in the South Pole-Aitken Basin Thursday at 10:26 a.m. Beijing time—a major milestone in the country’s pursuit of becoming a top space power. The rover transmitted back the world’s first close-range image of the far side of the moon, according to China’s state media. The announcement came shortly after China Daily and China Global Television Network (CGTN) took down social-media posts calling the mission a success, raising questions as to whether the probe had in fact managed to touch down. Chang’e 4 lunar mission took off Dec. 8 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. State media reported that it entered the moon’s orbit four days later.