In all the world, only three countries have sent spacecraft to the Moon. These include the U.S., the former Soviet Union, and China.

Last Thursday, January 3rd, at 10:26 a.m., China took one more step for mankind--on the "dark" side of the moon. The term "dark" is a misnomer here. It really means the side of the moon we don't see from Earth. During lunar orbits, this side has been monitored, but never at this close range have we explored there.

It's part of their ongoing effort to solidify China's emergence as a global power. After his election in 2013, President Xi Jinping said "the space dream is part of the dream to make China stronger."

According to the Chinese media, state officials feel very encouraged by their success. They admit Chinese space tech still isn't on par with that of the West, but they see this as a major milestone on their journey to progress on the world stage, in a variety of ways, quickly.

This Chinese victory does offer potential benefit to the entire world, however. Associated Press Writer, Ken Moritsugu, posits that the ability to explore the universe from that side of the moon could help scientists all over the world uncover more of the early mysteries of the first stars birthed in our cosmos and the early days of our Milky Way Galaxy.

In addition, on the "dark" side space tech won't have to deal with signal interference from Earth. Mission spokesman Yu Guobin said "the probe can fill the gap of low-frequency observation in radio astronomy and will provide important information for studying the origin of stars and nebula evolution," according to the Xinhua News Agency.

What's next for the Chinese space program? Nanjing University Professor Hou Xiyun inferred that Mars, Jupiter, and asteroids will be key focal points in the near future.

The space race continues.