In the second half of the 20th century, the world gained a new obsession with the moon. Before, it had simply been a wondrous ball in the sky that had captured imaginations for thousands of years. But starting with Sputnik, the first human made object in space, in 1957, the moon seemed a little closer than it had before. And in 1969, the first humans set foot on the moon, in what was an amazing and awe inspiring feat for the globe. Now, 50 years later, Chinese scientists have pulled off a new first with our closest extraterrestrial neighbor; they have landed a probe on the dark side of the moon!
What is the dark side of the moon you ask? Does it never see the sunlight? Is it always night time there? The answer to this is no, it is not always dark! It sees the sunlight at times, just the same as you and me. What it does not see, is Earth. The Earth and the Moon have a unique relationship where the Moon is close enough to our home that gravity keeps the same side facing us at all times, meaning you have never seen the other side in your life, and it has never seen you. The reason we call it “dark” is because of this reason that we have never seen it. Check out the video from a NASA satellite below to see what the other side looks like (and yes, I promise it is real!)
So congratulations to all involved in this impressive feat. It seems as though in the last few decades we have left the moon alone because we have been there and there is no life, so people seem to think there is not much more we can learn from visiting. But humans are made to explore, and while we may have been there before, it is the first point to the next stop in our solar system. So maybe it does have something to teach us in the end.