The human fascination with the moon has not wavered since the beginning of time. From earth, we only ever get to see one side of the moon. So, if we can’t see the dark side of the moon from the earth, you may be left wondering has anyone been to the dark side of the moon.
On 3 January 2019, China made the first-ever soft landing on the moon’s dark side. Man has never walked on the dark side of the moon, and we have only ever had sparingly few pictures until China made their soft landing in 2019.
Now we know that only China has been to the far side of the moon; there are a few questions that were naturally left wondering. Once I find an answer, I’m always asking follow-up questions, and in this case. It’s who took the first picture and what does dark side mean.
Why is it called the dark side of the moon?
When we hear the moon’s phase dark side, we often think it’s because the moon’s other side doesn’t get any light. A valid assumption to make but ultimately a wrong assumption to make.
Both sides of the moon experience two weeks of daylight and two weeks of night. So it does get light, so our assumption is proven to be flawed.
The other side of the moon is called the dark side has nothing to do with the amount of light it gets. But the fact is that dark refers to the unseen rather than the fact that it lacks sunlight.
Which country first pictured the dark side of the moon?
The Soviet Union broke ground when it comes to the lunar space expedition in all forms. The Soviet Union was the first country to picture the moon’s far side on October 7, 1959.
They achieved this by using probe Luna 3; the probe captured eighteen resolvable images. These images covered one-third of the dark side of the moon that is invisible from Earth.
The images that the Luna 3 captured were used to create the first atlas of the moon’s dark side of the moon. The USSR Academy of Sciences produced the lunar atlas that carried 500 prominent features from the pictures.
A mission that the Soviet Union would keep repeating over the coming years to capture better-detailed pictures. With the better shots, the first globe of the moon’s dark side was produced On July 20, 1965.
Can we ever see the dark side of the moon from earth?
Yes, but it is rare and needs special conditions to see it from the earth.
During certain times the moon wagging or wavering and gives us a different perspective of the moon. The process is called libration, and you will only ever see 18 percent of the moon’s dark side. You will need to be observing the moon with a telescope as you will not see it with the naked eye.
To read more about libration, this Wikipedia is a great resource to read about the whole process.
Which country first reached the dark side of the moon?
Even though the lunar space expedition started in 1959, there was only one country to soft-landed on the moon’s dark side in 2019.
China is the only country to date to soft-land on the moons dark side to date. They achieved this feat on January 3, 2019.
China used a robotic spacecraft called Chang’e 4 to make the soft-landing on the moons dark side. It is the first spacecraft to attempt the feat and complete the mission a success.
The whole mission was stroud in mystery, and China only announced the mission minutes before the probe successfully landing on the moon’s dark side.
So, we have gone from grainy images to actual video of the moons dark side. As there is no direct contact with the probe to get the video back to earth, the images produced are bounced of another satellite to get them back to earth.
Below is the video of when the Chang’e 4 made its landing on the moon.
The moon has been a fascination for us humans since the begging of time. The moon’s dark side is no different, as you can tell with China’s recent visit. Video footage that China has produced with the Chang’e 4 has given us a whole new look of the moon.
With this new look and the landing on the dark side, the discoveries I’m sure will continue over the coming years.
We have many different articles about the moon on our site include a lunar 100 free giveaway. If you love the moon, go check it out, or if you want the best telescope for planets, we also have articles for you.