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What is the meaning of "ahead of" in the following sentence,

The aircraft lands on the moon ahead of the mission.

?

Does it mean "The aircraft lands on the moon to perform the mission" ?

Does "ahead of" in the sentence mean "to perform" ?

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    Where's this sentence from? None of it appears to particularly care about grammar conventions, to be honest. – Mithical Apr 30 '18 at 10:11
  • What does "ahead of " in the sentence, "Canadian aircraft lands in Japan ahead of mission to monitor North Korean smuggling" mean? Does "ahead of" in the sentence mean "to perform" ?-----> source: globalnews.ca/news/4175083/… – user22046 Apr 30 '18 at 10:42
  • Does "Canadian aircraft lands in Japan ahead of mission to monitor North Korean smuggling" mean "Canadian aircratf lands in Japan before mission to monitor North Korean smuggling" ? – user22046 Apr 30 '18 at 10:52
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    Note that you would never write "in the moon" - one lands "on the moon" or on any other astronomical body. You can land in Japan because a country has political borders that you land inside of. – Canadian Yankee Apr 30 '18 at 12:55
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    Also, one would not have "aircraft" on the moon because there is no air there. You would have a "spacecraft" or perhaps a "lander" or "lunar lander." – Canadian Yankee May 1 '18 at 13:39
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Ahead of

ahead of preposition (BEFORE): earlier than or before someone or something

In the context you've given, it's likely this translates as:

The aircraft landed before the mission [began]


But the important part here, is that it suggests the aircraft landed in preparation for the mission - or in a way that facilitated the mission. That is, the mission is unlikely to have progressed if the aircraft did not land.

A similar example that might make it clearer is:

Politician A arrived in Brussels ahead of major talks about Serious Issue.

Here, we're not actually that interested in the fact the politician arrived. We're more interested in that fact it now means the talks can go ahead. Here, ahead of translates better as as part of preparations for:

Politician A arrived in Brussels as part of preparations for major talks about Serious Issue.

As such, your sentence likely can translate best to:

The aircraft landed on the moon, in prepartion of the mission.


Note, there are a few other implications that could be meant by "ahead of", that are far less common. But the most common use is to suggest something was done, in preparation for the next thing.

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According to this.

I will interpret "ahead of" as "before". Therefore, it means

The aircraft lands in the moon before the time that the mission has planned it to land.

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    Ahead of certainly means before in this context but I question whether it implies that the landing takes place earlier than planned. The statement signifies that the landing is part of a sequence of events and that it precedes the mission. – Ronald Sole Apr 30 '18 at 9:48

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