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China Races Toward Luna Incognita

The farside of the moon, a frontier that no one has yet been able to land on it and so little is known about the farside of the moon. China wants to be the first.

Consisting of a lander and a rover, Chang’e-4 is targeting the moon’s farside, the lunar hemisphere that is always facing away from Earth. No spacecraft has ever achieved a soft landing there before, although in 1962 NASA crashed its Ranger 4 probe into the farside surface.
“Relative to the nearside, in many respects we know very little about the farside,” says Mark Robinson, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University and the principal investigator for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC).

Read more on Scientific American.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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China's space program borrows heavily, both from sharing and from reverse engineering, from the Soviet space program. Their designs and equipment tend to derive much more so from Soviet designs and not resemble American designs. Collaboration between NASA and Chinese researchers has been mostly prohibited by the US for nearly ten years now (collaborations in other fields have been fruitful for both sides though...). They have been quite capable of their own developments for a long time now too, although some of the old Soviet designs work well and don't need to be changed much to be modernized.

There are plenty of cases of China playing loose (or breaking) IP laws and relying on modified American designs and technologies. This is probably a situation quite far from that though.
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