China Takes First Step to Landing on Dark Side of the Moon

China has taken an important first step in its mission to explore the dark side of the moon by launching a new satellite early Monday. The relay satellite will eventually establish a communication link between Earth and the country’s planned lunar probe, which is expected to become the first rover to explore the dark side of the moon before the end of the year. “The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the moon,” Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency. China confirmed its plans to explore the dark side of the moon in 2015, and previously landed a spacecraft on the moon in 2013, becoming only the third nation after the United States and Russia to land on the lunar surface.