China has set its sights on becoming the first country to land a lunar probe on the dark side of the moon. Chinese state media CCTV interviewed Zou Yongliao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' moon exploration department, who said that it's "Chang'e 4" mission will commence before 2020.
He said the goal of the assignment will be to study the geological conditions of the dark side of the moon. As it stands, radio transmissions from Earth do not have the strength to reach the opposite side of the moon. However, China will plant a radio telescope there if their mission is successful which will "fill a void" in what we know about the universe.
He added that the dark side of the moon has a "clean electromagnetic environment, which provides an ideal field for low frequency study. If we can place a frequency spectrograph on the far side, we can fill a void".
The country's next moon mission will be in 2017 when it will guide an unmanned spacecraft to the moon to collect samples. The feat will only be the third successful attempt after the US and Russia completed the same operation.