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China’s lunar rover discovers ‘gel-like’ substance with ‘unusual colour’ in crater on moon

Chang’e-4 launched from the Xichang satellite launch centre in Sichuan, south-west China at 6:30 GMT on December 7 

October 24, 2007 – China launches Chang’e-1, an unmanned satellite, into space where it remains operational for more than a year. 

October 1, 2010 – China launches Chang’e-2. This was part of the first phase of the Chinese moon programme. It was in a 100km-high lunar orbit to gather data for the upcoming Chang’e-3 mission. 

September 29, 2011 – China launches Tiangong 1. 

September 15, 2013 – A second space lab, Tiangong 2, is launched. 

December 1, 2013 – Chang’e-3 launched.  

December 14, 2013 – Chang’e-3, a 2,600 lb (1,200 kg) lunar probe lands on the near side of the moon successfully. It became the first object to soft-land on the Moon since Luna 24 in 1976. 

April 1, 2018 – Tiangong-1 crashes to Earth at 17,000mph and lands in the ocean off the coast of Tahiti. 

May 20, 2018 – China launches a relay satellite named Queqiao which is stationed in operational orbit about 40,000 miles beyond the Moon. This is designed to enable Chang’e-4 to communicate with engineers on Earth. 

The Chang'e-4 lunar rover is lifted into space from the Xichang launch centre in China's southwestern Sichuan province on December 7

The Chang’e-4 lunar rover is lifted into space from the Xichang launch centre in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on December 7

December 7, 2018 – Chinese space agency announces it has launched the Chang’e-4 probe. 

December 12, 2018 –  Retrorockets on the probe are fired to stabilise the spacecraft and slow it down. 

December 31, 2018 –   The probe prepares for the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the Moon. 

January 4, 2019 – It lands the Chang’e-4 lander on the far side of the moon 

Planned for 2020 – Tiangong 3,a follow-up mission to the Tiangong-2 

Before 2033 – China plans for its first uncrewed Mars exploration program.

2040 – 2060 – The Asian superpower is planning a crewed mission to Mars. 


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