China names the date for dark side moon landing

2018 is when the propaganda and science will flow

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China has let it be known its Chang'e-4 lander will touch down on the dark side of the moon some time in 2018.

State-directed organ Xinhua reports that the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense has picked the year after next for its landing.

Chang'e-4 will land on the dark side and stay there to conduct geological investigations. The craft is billed as “very similar to Chang'e-3 in structure but can handle more payload.”

Hopefully not too similar: the “Jade Rabbit” lander dispatched on Chang'e-3 experienced a mechanical control abnormality and then broke down completely after only a couple of months' operations.

The Xinhua report also mentions plans for Chang'e-5, a mission that will land on Luna and then return to Terra Firma, but doesn't offer a launch date. ®

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