First of all, I think we need to clear this up, there is no “dark side of the moon.” China landed their rover on the far side of the moon. Just like the Earth, the dark side is illuminated by the sun. However it is not visible by the sun.
Why is far side of the moon of any significance
So far there are 27 moon landing mission to the moon, and China’s mission is the first one of on the far side of the moon.
Is it the first time we see the far side of the moon?
Russia sent a satellite to capture the far side of the moon in the 1950s. But China is still the first time human lands a rover on the far side.
Because of the low gravity of the moon, it’s difficult to capture the far side without spending quite a lot of resources to focus on the mission. To communicate with the rover, China sent an additional satellite for this mission.
Is the Space race on again?
Maybe, but this time the space race looks very different from the original. In the 50s and the 60s, the space race is strictly between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Nowadays, there are Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Microsoft’s space shuttle, the Moon Express supported by the US government, and of course China, U.S. and Russia. It is looking a heck lot more commercial than the 50s and 60s.
Is it worth spending money on it?
We don’t know yet. Although colonizing a new planet is what Elon Musk preaches all the time, it is not yet realistic. It is also not an imaginary battle ground like Trump’s Space Force suggested. However, it might resembles what finding the Americas means for Spain and Britain.
One of the key words in all the space mission nowadays is “payload” in other word how much the rocket or space ship could carry, and how efficient or cheap we can do it. The space is the new oil wells. Once we found a resources whatever that might be, who can get there first to bring it back. It is the final frontier. (Read our piece on what SpaceX’s break through means here)
What hangs in the air is if we would find it. It is yet to be seen.