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Near vs. Far Side of Moon

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Chandrayaan-3 mission, part of India’s lunar exploration efforts, successfully landed the Vikram lander on the near side of the Moon, making it one of the closest approaches to the Moon’s South Pole.

 

 Difference between the Near and Far side of the Moon:

AspectNear Side of the MoonFar Side of the Moon
Visibility from EarthVisible to Earth observers (about 60% of the moon’s surface area)Not visible from Earth
Sunlight ExposureReceives sunlight, not perpetually darkReceives sunlight during the new moon
TerrainRelatively smoother, more volcanic plainsRougher terrain with large impact craters
Crust ThicknessThinner crust, extensive volcanic lava flowThicker crust, fewer volcanic features
Space MissionsConducive to space missions due to flatter terrainMore challenging due to rough terrain and craters
Water-Ice PossibilityLimited in permanently shadowed regionsPossible in permanently shadowed regions
Lunar ExplorationMany lunar missions have landed hereFewer lunar missions due to challenges (only China’s mission was sent to the far side)
CommunicationDirect line-of-sight communication with EarthLimited communication requires the relay