The landing of the Chinese lunar probe, Chang'e-4, on the dark side of the moon is a "great achievement" that will allow more progress in the future, a Spanish aerospace expert said.
"Landing on the far side of the moon is an amazing technical achievement because there is a significant amount of time when the vehicle is out of contact with earth," said Eugenio Fontan, the Managing Director of the Madrid Aerospace Cluster.
As head of the organization, which aims to promote innovation and technical development in the aerospace industry, Fontan stressed the difficulties in the first ever landing on the far side of the moon.
"On other occasions with manned and unmanned ships, they have always had guidance from the earth, but the Chinese probe has had to land on its own. That is something very few space agencies have the capacity to do," he highlighted.
The landing showed that the Chinese had "moved into even more important position in the world of space exploration," Fontan added.
"The probe is in some ways similar to a drone and it will allow us to gain experience in controlling drones or pilotless craft in places such as underwater trenches, where the vehicle is able to make its own decisions," explained Fontan.
The expert also pointed out that at the end of its near quarter-million mile journey, Chang'e-4 made an almost vertical landing, which he described as "a huge challenge; highly difficult and with a lot of risks."
He added the landing completes "an important period in which China has put various satellites into orbit to carry out tests in quantum communications, signifying a very important technological leap forward."
"They are one of the few nations who can do that and it will be of great scientific use," said Fontan, adding that China had also made strides forward in "improving navigation systems and the safe destruction of satellites."
"This is good news for all humanity and I congratulate them," he concluded.