A tiny lunar orbiter termed Longjiang-2, or DSLWP-B is reported to have crashed on the far side of the lunar surface on purpose. The probe had outlived its one-year scheduled lifespan and authorities at the China National Space Administration considered the best use of the technology was to have it dive into the lunar surface. The orbiter was sent into space in May of 2018 along with the Chang’e 4 lunar probe to perform radio-astronomical observations of the moon surface and solar radiation.
The crash was intentional, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua. The collision with the moon was planned from January of 2019, and it was only a matter of time for the administration to decide when they would enable the self-destruct sequence. Additional technology located on the orbiter included a high-definition camera developed by a Saudi Arabian company which managed to capture over thirty (30) high definition pictures of the moon’s surface.
Another Space Race?
China’s increasing obsession with space might raise a few eyebrows on the other side of the world. After beating the Russians to the upper reaches of the atmosphere and the moon, NASA has significantly scaled back its exploration and development of spacefaring technologies. China’s space administration is playing catch-up, but their advances are helping the government make up ground and potentially surpass the American program.
Late last month the China National Space Administration announced that they had successfully launched the first commercial rocket that could be used to put satellites into orbit around the planet. The advancements in the field may yet impact the current trade war brewing between the world superpowers. NASA has been superseded by private companies such as SpaceX when it comes to developing spacefaring technology. Whether these commercial companies are up to the challenge of taking on the government of a world superpower with regards to the development of new technology remains to be seen.