Patent published on January 25, 2017

Why the far side of the Moon is such a big topic to researchers?

Pioneer-0 was the first attempt by the mankind to send a probe beyond the earth orbit in 1958. The United States was the organizer of that mission. Unfortunately, it’s failed due to some reasons. But after that many successful moon missions were made. The Apollo-11 mission was an epitome of it when first-time human foot placed on lunar soil.

Since then scientists have been exploring the moon to know about its formation. They even got multiple theories about it. The leading one is the giant-impact hypothesis which defines that a Mars-sized object collapsed with earth and the moon is one of the big debris of the earth. Scientists are even searching for the inner layer of the moon, scientifically known as Lunar Regolith, to find the inner structure.

The far side of the moon is the side which always faces away from the earth. It’s sometimes called dark side of the moon. Here the term dark is referred to the unknown land rather for a dark place. The far side of the moon is not yet explored by any probe and no man walked on that land. That silent land is sea of unexplored information regarding formation of the moon.

Scientists thought of this far side to be similar to the near one. When Soviet Luna 3 probe, however, took some pictures of the far side, in 1959, made scientist to think otherwise. In 1965, another Soviet probe Zond-3 captured 25 clearer pictures. These images revealed the presence of large crater.

Astronaut William Anders was the first human who witnessed the dark side without an optical instrument.

“The backside looks like a sand pile my kids have played in for some time. It’s all beat up, no definition, just a lot of bumps and holes.” William Anders

Moon Revolution to the Earth

Earlier we didn’t have high-resolution cameras and other advanced technologies. But, we now have and the far side will not remain a mystery anymore. Many countries will launch missions to pull the curtain from the far side.

The USA alone has four missions scheduled for the next year. Two of them are to find the water-ice deposits, one for mapping hydrogen deposits and last one for the remote sensing.

China is also joining the contest by sending a probe this year for bringing a sample of the moon. Its major moon mission, however, is scheduled for the next year. First time a country will send a robotic rover to the dark side of the moon. If China’s mission becomes a success, it will be the first countries to achieve this feat.

India with Russia will launch Chandrayaan-2 in 2018. Further, Japan will launch its spacecrafts in 2019 and 2020 with SLIM and SELENE-2 respectively for roving on the moon. To which part is undisclosed. There are high chances of it touching the untouched land, however.

Currently, there is no active rover on the moon. Last rover Yutu was sent by China in 2013. After 42 days, it went immobile and in July 2016, it ceased sending information. Well, it seems that China is hurried to explore the moon completely before anyone else.

The lunar regolith of the far side is yet to be explored. This composition of that land could solve the mystery of formation of the Moon.

The near side is covered with 31% maria (land formed by a volcanic eruption) while the far side has only 1% maria. This led scientists to speculate that the near-side has lot more heat-generating elements in contrast to the far-side. That could also be a reason why moon’s near-side has low craters as compare to the far side which contains more and large craters.

The South Pole’s Aitken basin is a huge impact crater on the far side. It is 13km deep and has a diameter of 2500 km. It’s considered one of the largest known impact craters on the solar system. Also, It is the largest, oldest and deepest basin recognized on the Moon. The lowest elevation of the moon (-6000m)is also located here. Therefore, analysis of this crater can be helpful to find the interior properties of the moon.

The far side could be helpful for the radio telescope for astronomers as it’s shielded from Earth’s radio transmissions.Scientists suggest that the Daedalus crater, a 100 km diameter which locates in center of far side, could be supportive for the large-scale telescopes. But the lunar dust is a problem for the radio telescope that can damage its equipments.

One more potential thing on the far side is Helium-3 which is rarely found on the earth. Maria on the far is expected to contain a high concentration of this helium isotope. Also, escaping helium is a matter of concern for earthlings.

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