back to article China on its way to becoming the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon

China has successfully launched a spacecraft aiming to become the first lander to touch down on the far side of the Moon. The Chang’e probe was shot into space aboard a Long March 3B rocket on 7 December from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, a spaceport nestled in the Sichuan province. It’s expected to enter the Moon’s …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dark Side, Shirley?

    > the far side of the Moon.

    You know we were just waiting to pounce if you had.

    1. Rustbucket

      Re: Dark Side, Shirley?

      It's the dark side if they go at night.

      1. Symon Silver badge

        Re: Dark Side, Shirley?

        Adjective, definition number 13. Hidden. Secret.

        Cf. Dark Ages.

        Anyway, we all know that there's no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dark Side, Shirley?

      Pink Floss missed a treat there.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dark Side, Shirley?

      Since a sphere has only an inside and an outside, the dark "side" of the moon must inevitably be an imaginary side that only Floyd and Chinese landers can reach.

      I have a suspicion one or both may be powered by cannibus.

      1. Symon Silver badge

        Re: Dark Side, Shirley?


        Sure, as long as you pay the driver the fare.

  2. The Nazz Silver badge

    Telling porkies?

    I hope every thing goes well for the Chinese and their mission(s).

    But if no-one else can see the far side, how would we know if their lander simply crashed and they subsequently put out the pretence of regular communications "from the surface", which were actually created in a studio in Sichaun?

    1. dnicholas Bronze badge

      Re: Telling porkies?

      What like NASA? No, fortunately, real scientists and engineers work on real space projects. Be they Chinese, American or even escaping Nazi Germans

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hooray. Not the "dark side"

    I'm sure that some flat-Earthers are going to be disappointed to find out that the moon is a sphere and it gets an equal shake of sunlight across all longitudes, but I'm sure that that won't shake their beliefs. I do wonder, though, how deep they thing the Earth goes... interesting discoveries recently about biolife up to around 5k down. What comes after that?

    1. Symon Silver badge

      Re: Hooray. Not the "dark side"

      "What comes after that?"

      It's turtles all the way down.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hooray. Not the "dark side"

      Flat earthers believe that the Moon and other planets are spheres, only the Earth is flat. Because its special.

  4. Nolveys

    It's a good thing...

    ...that on the way to the far side of the Moon they didn't try to transfer in Canada.

    Best of luck to China in this endeavor. This will be quite an accomplishment if they pull it off.

  5. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    China on its way to becoming the first second nation to land on the far side of the Moon


    Sentinel Prime was there first.

    1. F111F

      Which Nation Did Sentinel Prime Represent?

      See title...

      And mine's the one with the bit of the AllSpark in the pocket...thanks!

  6. Sceptic Tank
    Black Helicopters

    That's no moon

    But what if there is no far side of the moon? What if it's just an empty shell Hollywood prop that was left there by NASA after the Apollo missions? I watch YouTube, and it's all conspiracies, y'know?

  7. bombastic bob Silver badge

    eliptical orbit satellite...

    not sure if they meant one of the lagrange points. One exists on the far side of the moon where the 'gravity shadowing' is at L2...

    So having a comms satellite stationed there could receive signals from the 'dark side' of the moon (queue one of the best Pink Floyd albums, evar), and then relay to Earth. The total signal distance would be about 3 times the distance from earth to moon, which is reasonable. Downside, having to keep a satellite at the L2 lagrange point with respect to earth and moon. I guess one that orbits the moon would cost less... [or you could have 2 or 3 of them, so that one is always 'in contact' while the other(s) go over the horizon]

    post-note - the moon wouldn't block the signal to the L2 point if the circle/orbit that the satellite makes about the L2 point has a large enough diameter. Lagrange orbits are kinda like 2 strings with a weight in the middle, spinning in a circular orbit 90 degrees to the 2 gravity wells [or in this case, as illustrated by the strings]. So yeah if that circle is too small, the satellite will be blocked by the moon. It would have to have a diameter larger than the moon, in other words. Should work, though.

    1. Graham Newton

      Re: eliptical orbit satellite...

      I initially thought it would be a single satellite in lunar orbit. Receiving and recording when in contact with the lander and then re-transmitting when in contact with Earth, like Cassini Huygens.

      However you are correct and there is quite a lot of interesting information in this link.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: eliptical orbit satellite...

      > queue one of the best Pink Floyd albums

      You can queue yours if you want. The correct word though is cue.

      (And my fingers have made the same mistake too. When I'm touch typing quickly I think a word and my fingers move, not always the correct homophone. The brain is a strange thing.)

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: eliptical orbit satellite...

        "You can queue yours if you want. The correct word though is cue."

        Can't you use both in slightly different circumstances? You'd cue up the record you wanted to play now, but queue up another record to play after that one had finished.

        1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

          Re: eliptical orbit satellite...

          That reminds me of a record player I used to have. While it played the first record, I could stack up to five more on the spindle, which had a little lever thing to keep them suspended above the first. When the first record ended and the arm returned home, the lever thing would let the next one drop and that one would then be played. Imagine that! A total of six LPs playing back to back (only one side of each, mind you) without the need for any human intervention! Happy days.

          1. F111F
            Thumb Up

            Re: eliptical orbit satellite...

            Yep, the first "playlist"...remember those days well.

          2. The Nazz Silver badge

            Re: eliptical orbit satellite...

            re stack of six LP's.

            Yeah, my dad had one of the "Radiograms" that did that. Initially impressive.

            Until you realise that each LP slips a little on the one below, not only sounding poor but also damaging the grooves.

            Even worse with 7" singles.

            Edit : Turned out the ex Mrs was much better at handling 7" singles, and the rest , who'da guessed eh?

        2. David Given

          Re: eliptical orbit satellite...

          If you habitually used a piece from a second hand pool table to push the button which added the album to the playlist, you'd have a cue queue cue.

  8. _LC_ Silver badge


    Remember to erase the stars from the pictures. ;-)

  9. Potemkine!

    Chinese space program is impressive, and should deserve more publicity, even if China was designed as the new Nemesis by the orange Klown.

    The search for He-3 reminds me of 'Odyssey 2' when the Chinese spaceship lands on Europa to find water for its propulsion system... Arthur C. Clark was really a visionary man

    1. Fatman
      Thumb Up

      'orange Klown' reference

      I had to award one upvote for the reference.

  10. VinceH


    "The first human eyes to see the far side were the crew of Apollo 8, and one of them told Arthur C. Clarke that they had debated radioing back news of a large black monolith on the surface, having seen the film 2001 before launch, but that wiser heads prevailed."

    Well, obviously wiser heads prevailed. The monolith that was found on the moon was buried. It wouldn't have been visible from orbit.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      Yep, the only reason they found it was because they were doing a luna-magnetic survey.

      There's a reason it was called Tycho Magnetic Anomaly One.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      Perhaps they should have reported some anomaly with their gravity readings?

  11. MAF

    Clarke time

    I'm sure they'll let us know about any Black monoliths they find

  12. Morrie Wyatt
    Black Helicopters

    And of course

    They will need to beware of those steampunk Nazis.

  13. F111F

    Which Was It?

    "...but it crashed and was destroyed when it crash landed."

  14. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    This is why I read the Register

    "The first human eyes to see the far side were the crew of Apollo 8, and one of them told Arthur C. Clarke that they had debated radioing back news of a large black monolith on the surface, having seen the film 2001 before launch, but that wiser heads prevailed."

    I did not previously know about said debate among the Apollo 8 crew. I clearly remember being 7 years old and hearing Boorman, Lovell, and Anders read from Genesis on Christmas Eve of '68 but in all those years since had never heard about them potentially pranking humanity.

  15. Wellyboot Silver badge

    One step at a time

    >>>Chang'e-4 is preceded by three other spacecraft. The mission is part of a wider program that will send future probes to collect lunar samples and, ultimately, land astronauts on the Moon.®<<<

    I believe the (very) long term plan is to put boots on Mars in time for the PRCs 100th anniversary.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: One step at a time

      Rumours that Donald Trump plans to put US boots on Mars in time for the prick's 100th birthday are unsubstantiated.

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        @MyffyW: Re: One step at a time

        That would be because the real plan is to put him on Mars. And leave him there.

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      @Wellyboot: Re: One step at a time

      Ah. So they're starting the Very Long March, are they?

      Why, yes, the Mao jacket is my coat, thanks.

  16. adam 40 Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    Let's hope the batteries last longer...

    ... than the ones in their "Jade Rabbit"!

    Did the moon move for you, darling?

  17. AK565

    I wonder if the dark/far side has TLP's (Transient Lunar Phenomena) aka "unexplained lights that have been observed for centuries"...

    I wonder even more why there seems to be so little interest in checking them out.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020