China's state media confirmed that touchdown occurred at 10:26 a.m. local time; later in the day, the China National Space Administration released the first close-ups of the surface of the far side, taken by Chang'e-4 after it landed.
The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side - or "dark side" - is never visible to us. The process was recorded by the camera on the lander and the images were sent back to the Earth via the relay satellite "Queqiao", the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced.
The Chang'e 4 robotic probe is destined for the moon's unexplored dark side, which - if it successfully lands - would be a new milestone exploration for humanity.
The work of Chang'e 4, which is carrying a rover, includes carrying out astronomical observations and probing the structure and mineral composition of the terrain. According to Andrew Jones, a journalist reporting on the Chinese space program, Chang'e 4's descent required "laser ranging and optical cameras for navigation, velocity, and coarse hazard avoidance".
Chang'e 4 will perform several experiments while on the moon, including testing whether plants will grow in the low gravity environment, exploring the poles to find water or other resources, observing the interaction between solar winds and the lunar surface, and conducting the first lunar low-frequency radio astronomy experiment.
We've known for a long time about the CNSA's ambitions to get a probe landed on the far side of the Moon - and it has now made good on its promise.
Chang'e-4 was launched on 8 December 2018 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. The tidal lockstep means that humans can't see the far side of the moon without sending a spacecraft there, which first happened in October 1959, with the flight of the Soviet Union's Luna 3 probe.
"There are rocks all over the far side that are four billion years old", she continued.
The transfer mechanism unlocked as planned with one side reaching the moon's surface, allowing the rover to descend to the surface from the slope.
If the moon was formed from the same material as the Earth as many lunar scientists believe, studying the South Pole-Aitken basin could provide insights into the early Earth, de Grijs said.
"China is acutely aware that the United States have designs on space military capabilities and is looking to make sure it can match or outmatch them and develop a military force to be a credible threat".