China Lands On Dark Side Of The Moon, Finds No One Waiting


Did you know that besides the US, Russia and China are the other two countries to have landed on the moon? Well, now you do, bitches. While we've all been happy enough to land on the normal side that is visible from Earth, our mortal enemies in the Great Tariff war decided to overachieve and land on the damn DARK SIDE! Big deal you say? It's not even actually dark on that side, you say? That's true, but it IS kinda of a big deal. Before we get to why, let's do a quick primer on the Chinese space program. (You fucking love primers!)

All the movies and books focus on the US vs Russia space race in the late '50s and early '60s with the Russians taking the lead via Sputnik and getting a man in space first. Of course, then Ryan Gosling beat the Red Menace to land on the moon, even though the traitor never planted the Stars and Stripes there. Pinche, buey. China was there all along though! They started a missile program with nuclear aspirations during the years of the Korean war and then after Sputnik went up, they went for satellites. Back then, the Russians and Chinese were pals and the nesting doll innovators went ahead and shared a bunch of satellite and missile tech with them.

Old timey propaganda poster. Not sure who to credit

Of course, Soviet/Chinese relations soured after Mao dissed Khrushchev, the bromance ended, and in 1960 everyone took their tech and went home. However, even with the early help, the Chinese didn't successfully launch a satellite until 1970, named Dong Fang Hong I. For those not language savvy, it means "the East is Red." Interesting trivia, that's the name of a Chinese song, and the satellite had a radio transmitter that played the song for 20 days straight. Why? Because they could. Sadly, after trying to get the bronze, they ended up being fifth to get a satellite in orbit. It's still up there, though, so "A" for quality work.

Space technology exhibition in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China

The Chinese manned space program started in 1971 but was a bit of mess, apparently more due to politics and the death of Mao than to scientific setbacks. In fact, it wasn't until 2003 that China achieved getting a man into space. The SHENZHOU-5 mission made Yang Liwei a superstar as China's first taikonaut to go up above the blue sky. Since that success, there have only been five more manned missions (including women taikonauts, yay!), but always with an eye to reach and surpass what others have accomplished in space.

Yang Liwei looking crowdedThe credit is in the photo, but in Chinese

In 2007, the China National Space Administration launched the Chang'e 1 (named after the Chinese Moon goddess) which became their first lunar probe, orbiting but not landing on the surface.

Here's some video from that mission:

Chang'er 2 video moon

In 2013, they finally landed a non-manned moon mission, joining the US and Russia on that achievement and they've continued putting cute little rovers like the one below on the block of space cheese.

Now, back to what happened in the last few days. On January 3, 2019, the Chinese landed a probe on the far side (not actually dark) of the Moon. That had not been done before, so this is their "first" in the space race, if we can still call it that. Two aspects make this interesting. One is that they plan to keep upping the ante until they land men on the moon, build a base there and use the base to launch missions to Mars. Will they actually do that? We'll see, but they seem more serious about space than the US and Russia do of late. Of course, Space Force is coming soon, so we can be excited about THAT! #SighRoll. The second aspect is that there is scientific benefit to having sciencey gizmos on the far side.

"The far side of the moon is a rare, quiet place that is free from interference from radio signals from Earth," mission spokesman Yu Guobin said. "This probe can fill the gap of low-frequency observation in radio astronomy and will provide important information for studying the origin of stars and nebula evolution."

So, not crazy cool like shrinking rays at MIT, but still, something new could come from what at first glance might seem like a bit of propaganda mission.

What I would personally like to see next is a werewolf manned mission. Would the lycanthrope be in a constant state of furriness on the moon, because, hey, it's always a full moon there? If so, I predict the first Space Force battle will be between werewolf armies on the Moon.

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Carlos Sagan

I am a biochemist MexiCAN. I also write screenplays, ever hoping to get one made.

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