An anonymous reader writes: Despite all the time we've spent studying the moon, nobody has ever deployed a probe to its far side. Now, China has announced that it plans to land a probe there in 2018. The craft they plan to send is similar to the Chang'e-3 probe with its Jade Rabbit rover. They plan to study the geologic conditions on the far side of the moon. "China insists that its space program is for peaceful purposes. However, the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China's increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis. In March, the Chinese government said it would open up its lunar exploration program to companies rather than simply relying on the state-owned sector as before, hoping to boost technological breakthroughs."