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And hadn't he fully redeemed himself with his great contributions to our space race with the Soviets? And it's this sanitized biography that has roused the indignation of Tom Gehrels, a noted University of Arizona astronomer and pioneer in the program to discover and track Earth-threatening asteroids.
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A member of the Dutch resistance during World War II, Gehrels readily acknowledges von Braun's contributions to the world of science, but is all too aware of the little-known dark side of both him and his brother Magnus. These prisoners were housed in an adjacent concentration camp called Dora, and new arrivals were given the standard welcoming speech: "You came in through that gate, and you'll leave through that chimney [of the crematorium]. Workers, scantily clad, were forced to stand at attention in the biting cold during roll calls that went on for hours.
Average survival time in the unventilated paint shop was one month. One prisoner told of being bitten on his legs by guard dogs. Presumably to test the effectiveness of a new medication, one of his legs was treated, the other allowed to fester and deteriorate. For reasons best known to von Braun, who held the rank of colonel in the dreaded Nazi SS, the prisoners were ordered to turn their backs whenever he came into view. Those caught stealing glances at him were hung.
The Chang'e-4 lunar probe mission blasted off on a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The rover is expected to land around the New Year to carry out experiments and explore the untrodden terrain.
China launches mission to explore dark side of the moon
The probe is carrying six experiments from China and four from abroad. They include low-frequency radio astronomical studies - aiming to take advantage of the lack of interference on the far side - mineral tests, and experiments planting potato and other seeds, local Chinese media reported.
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Unlike the near side of the moon that is "tidally locked" and always faces the earth, and offers many flat areas to touch down on, the far side is mountainous and rugged. It was not until that the erstwhile Soviet Union captured the first images of the heavily cratered surface, uncloaking some of the mystery of the moon's "dark side".
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No lander or rover has ever touched the surface there, positioning China as the first nation to explore the terrain. The biggest challenge will be establishing communication with the far side of the moon, which is unreachable by direct signal and invisible from Earth, said professor Ouyang Ziyuan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the chief scientist of the China Lunar Exploration Plan.
As a solution, China in May blasted the Queqiao "Magpie Bridge" satellite into the moon's orbit, positioning it so that it can relay data and commands between the lander and earth. Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by , and of eventually sending humans to the moon.
Chang'e-4 will be the second Chinese probe to land on the moon, following the Yutu "Jade Rabbit" rover mission in It's expected to make first-ever soft landing on far side of the moon pic. During the lunar night - which lasts 14 earth days - temperatures drop as low as minus degrees Celsius, while during the lunar day, also lasting 14 earth days, temperatures rocket as high as C.