China and the Dark Side of the Moon: Why?First Published: March 12, 2016 Last updated: May 10th, 2017 Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes
For years, the myth of the Dark Side of the Moon has been building. As one of the most interesting parts of many discussions to do with encountering other species and exploring space, the Dark side of the Moon is a topic of much consideration and discussion – and for good reason.
From being the home of an alien species to the “discovery” of massive items and buildings on the far side of the moon, more than set of theories exists about why it’s such a fabled piece of space history.
In recent times, though, its’ been the subject of far more discussion due to something a bit less outlandish. This is because China announced in early January that they would be showcasing a long-term approach to become the first nation on the planet to go and visit the Dark side of the Moon.
The plan, at the time of writing, is to make a landing some time in 2018 which would be yet another impressive milestone for the growing lunar program in China. Long a nation that has desired to be at the forefront of development both on this planet and off, this move towards changing their lunar approach is going to make major waves.
At the time of writing, not a huge amount of detail exists about a Chinese visit to the Dark side of the Moon – only that they intend to do so using the Chang’e-4 probe to go and visit the location in the near future.
However, one thing that stands out from this story so far has been the reaction from the Western world. In the past we had a massive standoff between the Russians and the Americans about who would be the one to win the “space race”. Now, it looks like we might be seeing the Chinese equivalent as the rush to go and finally reach the Dark side of the Moon begins to take shape.
One of the biggest elements of the response to this, though, is the fact that Dark side of the Moon has long been coveted by the United States and other countries. Given their own (questionable) claims to have won the original space race, it will be interesting to see what the US response is to making sure they try and beat the Chinese to finally being the first nation to reach the Dark side of the Moon.
Something that really stands out from the coverage so far has been the condemnation by some, and the exclamation of impossibility by others. The other thing that stands out is obviously the chance that the first country to get there – whoever that may be – might run into something that they had never expected.
Here, you’ll find all the information we can find so far about a Chinese visit to the Dark side of the Moon in the future, and what the experts and conspiracy theorists reckon they might find during their moon visit.
What is the “Dark side of the Moon”?
One thing that many people aren’t sure of is what the actual Dark side of the Moon is. Is it from the Transformers movie? Is it the Pink Floyd album?
The actual “correct” term for this part of the Moon is known as the “Far” Side of the Moon, not the Dark side of the Moon. The reason this term came into such prominence is because of the unknown aspect of it – there is a real mystery to what is going on behind the scenes there. For that reason alone, the name has stuck – it’s dark because we aren’t sure what goes on there, not because we literally cannot see it. There’s certainly no lack of light over this section of the moon; the term “Dark side of the Moon” reflects more on the fact that we have no real information to follow.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll be referring to it as the Dark side of the Moon instead of the Far side of the Moon.
Due to the libration of the Earth, we can actually see around 18% of the Dark side of the Moon. The remaining sections of the Dark side of the Moon were left totally unseen by humanity until 1959 when the Luna 3 Space Probe was capable of snapping a photo of the Dark side of the Moon. This was eventually produced as part of the 1960 atlas from the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
According to history, the 1968 Apollo 8 mission was the first ever human craft to witness this via human eyes when they orbited around the moon. No human has ever stood on the Dark side of the Moon – or at least as far as we know, anyway!
The Chinese Plan
As ever, the Chinese have a plan to get themselves onto the Dark side of the Moon. They intend to launch the probe as mentioned before, as they intend to use both lander and rover to make a “soft” landing on the “back” side of the moon and then make their way across.
By patrolling the moon they hope to uncover vital information and details about what this actually might hold with regards to change for humanity in the long-term.
The main idea of the expedition is quite simple – to go over and see the dark side up close and in person, as well as to explore the geographical conditions of it closely. It’s never been seen due to gravitation forces on Earth and therefore we know next to nothing about it outside of hearsay and rumour.
Therefore, the hope is that the Chinese can get over there and finally give us a bit of divulgence on what is going on over here.
The most interesting factor from this, though, has been Chinese insistence that whilst they are open to international co-operation, they feel they can do it themselves. Has there been such a stark improvement in Chinese lunar control and command that they can do this without the help and input of the other space associations out there?
The belief was always that the Dark side of the Moon would be explored by a joint, international effort such was the massive range of challenges associated with reaching one side and making the most of the exploration. China, though, wants to go at alone.
As ever, massive rumours exist about what could possibly be waiting for us at the other side – is it going to be something a bit more divisive than just ground and damage from physical impacts from comets?
VIDEO: The Secret of the Dark Side of the Moon (Discovery)
Chinese Lunar History
The Chinese have been involved in lunar exploration for many years. This program was given the green light in 2004 and by 2007 the first Chinese space craft – Chang’e-1 – was in the sky and conducting missions. Their evolution and development as a nation with a command of space has been rapid and immense, with massive changes in a short period of time helping to establish the Chinese history and strength into beyond our own planet for the first place.
By December 2013, the Chang’e-3 was the first Chinese craft to land on the moon. It also put an un-manned lunar rover, the Yutu, onto the surface. This was the first rover to be operated on the Moon for 40 years, as the Soviet Lunokhod-2 ceased operations in 1973. Conspiracy theorists would even say that this could be the first time we have ever landed on the moon – ever!
The hope is, then, that this achievement can help the Chinese finally stop just reaching the same level of accomplish as other super powers such as the US and the Russians. This really does create an interesting and engaging mission for the Chinese, who wish to be pioneers.
The hope is that the Chinese can finally take their own stance within lunar exploration and become a country to finally usurp the achievements of the US and Russia, rather than copy them. The rapid development of the Chinese space programs has been something well worth noticing over the last few years, as they become arguably the only nation on the planet that can genuinely compete with Russia and the US.
Even to this day, we are still seeing progressive reports return from the old moon landing aircraft that the Chinese put in place in 2013. This shows that they are already beginning to make their mark on the world of lunar exploration and aviation, and have quickly established themselves as the go-to voice for big changes at the moment. Whilst US and Russian groups are unlikely to just sit back and accept this, the chances are that China will be throwing one almighty cat amongst the pigeons.
It’s safe to say though that the last decade has finally seen the emergence of another deeply powerful and effective range of space changes. They have become an equal to the US in terms of their credibility in the space program, according to most.
However, this mission alone is not the end of Chinese ambition. They also want to be the first nation to lead a landing on the Dark side of the Moon and then getting back to Earth! It’s this constant ambition and continuous planning that is very quickly making the Chinese story of lunar expansion even more intriguing. For fans of the world of space development and growth, this poses a unique and interesting challenge to the world of flight development.
It’s going to be an interesting couple of decades, as we might see other nations usurped by China.
What’s the Difference?
Many people might wonder, outside of knowledge, what the difference is between the near and far side of the moons. Well, according to Clive Neal, the chair of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG), there’s a massive difference. The Dark side of the Moon is home to the South Pole-Aitken basin, which is seemingly the largest known impact crater in our solar system. With almost 13km of depth and 2,500km of width making up this monstrous event this will hopefully give people a greater understanding of what this mission will start to detail in the years to come.
Given that both sides of the moon have such differing appearances, it’s easy to see why they have to be specifically categorised. Whilst the near side is full of massive maria, the far side looks as if it has taken a major beating over time. It’s filled with massive craters and damages all over it, and the most common reason for this is because of the difference in the heat producing elements on the near side vs the far side.
Other factors such as the surface elevation and even thickness of the crust are commonly given as reasons for this occurring. A common idea is that crustal thickness would be a major issue when basalts erupt on the moon – however, this does not explain the reason why the volcanic activity is so varied on both sides.
Other theories are built around the idea that the major differences come due to the major collision of a smaller moon many years ago. Others belief that the craters could be caused by the lunar lava flow which covers even the most obscure of craters. Many theories exist about what the major differences are, but most of them come down to the aesthetic factors only.
The major difference that many people wonder about is why it’s remained so dark. Our space technology has become so incredibly impressive, so why can’t they replicate the feats of more than four decades ago? Why is it only now that the Chinese might be able to finally usurp the old successes of the previous moon landings?
How can it have taken four decades for us to reach a point in history whereby we can reach the dark side unimpeded? Can it really have taken four decades of technological progression to make that jump? Conspiracy theorists certainly don’t believe so.
The “Real” Dark side of the Moon?
Aside from being a wonderful album, the “real” Dark side of the Moon is something characterised in conspiracy theory across the globe. From YouTube videos claiming to show us massive human structures to items that look nothing like anything we could ever built ourselves.
From YouTube stories of statues:
…that showcase animals certainly not human to this planet to giant lizards to dead astronauts being discovered:
…this is the perfect place for conspiracies to be formed.
Many theories exist about what may be going on here – some sound nuts, others less so. Big theorists out there such as guys like Milton Cooper have previously suggested that Apollo astronauts came across UFO devices when they were up there on the Dark side of the Moon.
Others state that moon bases exist already and that they are not human – they are codenamed “Luna” and house aliens inside. Some even say that they have encountered aliens themselves on the Moon (we know) and were told to stay off it by their new friends.
Whilst NASA does its usual and shuts down every story that sounds even remotely plausible (or crazy) there are enough ideas out there to keep you entertained for weeks.
One of the most interesting ideas, though, comes from the old Secretary of Defence, Robert McNamara. Robert claims that several “Chiefs” within the Pentagon were opposed to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty amongst the Union and the US based on the fact that the Soviets would continue testing on the Dark side of the Moon.
Thankfully, McNamara himself never believed in this madness and has stated on numerous times before his death that it was merely an example of how deranged some minds were during the Cold War, and the lengths people were willing to believe propaganda.
We have already produced an interesting discussion about this in the past, which you can read here.
It states that this stated base by Cooper is genuine and that it is the location where massive mining operations are taking place. It’s also the claim that aliens are mining the moon and then making shorter jump trips to Earth that seems to excite people – they are sitting their major mothership on the Moon and making trips down here themselves.
Milton Cooper is, by the way, a Naval Intelligence Officer. That adds a bit more credence to what he believes, in our eyes. Be sure to check out the article and video above and see what you think for yourself.
There’s plenty out there to do with the Chinese movement towards this landmark achievement, but what are they going to unfold? Is there a chance that we could be about to open up a rather major can of worms at one stage?
Are we likely to find ourselves dealing with something we aren’t ready for? Is there really something major going on across the Dark Side of the Moon? Well, come 2018, the chances are that we should then know for certain!