Chinese Moon Landing – level 3

08-01-2019 07:00

At the start of 2019, China did something that no other space program has ever done – it landed a spacecraft on the surface of the far side of the moon.

The reason people sent spacecraft to the near side is because spacecraft need to face Earth in order to establish a direct radio link with ground control.

Chinese scientists got around this by sending a satellite around 64,000 kilometres beyond the moon. This satellite will constantly send a signal between Earth and the spacecraft on the moon.

The Chinese rover will explore the lunar surface using a series of scientific instruments to study one of the moon’s largest and oldest craters. Scientists hope to find and study material from the deep lunar crater to see if the information can help us understand the moon’s evolution, as well as how the crater was formed.

Also, because the far side of the moon is hidden from Earth’s radio noise, this could be an excellent place to perform clear radio astronomy.

Difficult words: establish (create), ground control (the people on Earth who control the spacecraft), get around (solve), rover (a vehicle which drives over rough terrain), radio noise (radio signals from Earth), perform (do).

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