I’ve been amused this morning, following the news about China landing a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. Some of the questions, and comments popping up on Twitter have really tickled me pink.
The Chang’e-4 probe touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, and is carrying instruments to analyse the unexplored region’s geology, as well to conduct biological experiments. One onboard experiment is to test how well plants — specifically potatoes and small flowering Arabidopsis plants — grow on the moon. It is the first mini-greenhouse to land on another world!
One question being asked quite often about Chang’e-4 is, “how is the photo of the moon landing illuminated if the lander is on the dark side of the moon?”
- The dark side of the moon isn’t bathed in perpetual darkness. The word dark, means unknown.
The near and far sides of the moon receive equal amounts of sunlight – alternating every two weeks. The nearside also receives earthshine – sunlight reflected from the earth.
- I’m unable to answer if the landing was faked; or if secret military bases, operated by aliens, will be found on the moon; or if the Chinese are breeding moon monkeys.
- Meanwhile, Pink Floyd have seen an increase in album sales…
When you look at the dark side, careful you must be … for the dark side looks back.