China Lands Spacecraft On Far Side Of Moon To Collect Samples

China’s Chang’e-6 successfully landed on the moon’s far side to collect samples, marking China’s fourth lunar landing and the second on the moon’s far side, according to state media reports.

China Lands Spacecraft On Far Side Of Moon To Collect Samples 1

This past weekend saw two notable space-related events: China’s Chang’e-6 lander made a successful landing on the moon’s far side, and Boeing’s crewed Starliner spacecraft launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station was postponed once more.

After being launched on May 3 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the Chinese island of Hainan, the lander spent days orbiting the moon before making a final landing at the South Pole-Aitken Basin on Sunday morning at 06:23 Beijing time.

It is anticipated that the lander will release a drill-equipped mechanical arm and proceed to bore into the lunar surface to retrieve a 4.4-pound core sample. After that, the sample will be transferred to a different moon-orbiting module and brought back to Earth by the end of June.

The far side of the moon faces away from Earth, making relay satellite communications necessary, and making lunar missions there difficult. The spacecraft had to employ optical cameras and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to land because of the difficult terrain.

Out of four attempts, Chang’e-6 marks China’s fourth lunar landing. Additionally, this is the moon’s far side’s second successful landing (the first being Chang’e-4 in 2019). This is the third lunar landing of 2024, after the SLIM mission from Japan in January and the IM-1 Odysseus lander from Intuitive Machines in February.

Last week, SpaceNews was informed by Xu Yi, an assistant professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology, that “I have been analyzing the scientific data of the Chang’e-4 mission that landed on the far side of the moon, and I am constantly excited to have new findings from the ongoing rover data. Therefore, I am particularly excited about the Chang’e-6 mission.”

Yi continued, “The reasons for the asymmetry in the scale of volcanic activity between the lunar nearside and farside are still subject to different hypotheses. Chang’e-6 will probably collect lunar samples from various sources, including products of local volcanic activity. Dating and compositional analysis of these samples will provide more ground truth information about volcanic activity on the far side.”

State media in China referred to the landing as a “historic moment.”

In the future, Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to launch the mega-rocket known as Starship on June 6th for its fourth test flight.

The space race is intensifying.

Recently, GreatGameIndia reported that Yuri Borisov, head of Roscosmos, revealed that Russia plans to construct a nuclear power plant on the Moon, starting between 2033 and 2035.

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