Previous Moon missions have landed
on the Earth-facing side, but this is the first time any craft has landed
successfully on the unexplored and rugged far side.
Some spacecraft have crashed into
the far side, either after system failures, or after they had completed their
The Chang’e-4 was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China on December
7; it arrived in lunar orbit on December 12.
The mission was then directed to lower itself toward the Moon, being careful
to identify and avoid obstacles, Chinese state media say.
The Chang’e-4 probe is aiming to explore a place called the Von Kármán crater, located within the much larger South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin – thought to have been formed by a giant impact early in the Moon’s history.