The first spacecraft of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program launched on 24 October 2007, resulting in the unmanned Chang'e 1 entering lunar orbit on 5 November of the same year. The data collected by the orbiter provided the most accurate 3D map of the moon's surface. In 2013, Chang'e 3 and the rover Yutu became the first spacecraft to perform a soft landing on the moon since 1976. Today's feat though is an absolute first, with China's
Chang'e 4 performing a successful soft landing on the so-called 'dark side' of the moon - the part of the astronomical body which always faces away from Earth. The China National Space Administration said in a statement that the landing has "lifted the mysterious veil" of this part of the moon and "opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration".