Home News China Achieves First-ever Sample Retrieval From Far Side Of The Moon 
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China Achieves First-ever Sample Retrieval From Far Side Of The Moon 

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China has reached a significant milestone by landing its uncrewed Chang’e-6 spacecraft on the moon’s far side, marking the first-ever mission to retrieve rock and soil samples from this unexplored lunar region.

According to Al Jazeera, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) confirmed the probe successfully touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin at 6:23 AM Beijing time on Sunday.

Launched on May 3, the mission aims to collect approximately 2kg (4.4lb) of lunar material over three days. Using a robot arm and drill, the Chang’e-6 will gather samples from the moon’s oldest rocks, potentially providing new insights into the formation of the solar system and the differences between the moon’s far side and its near side, which is more thoroughly studied.

The mission faced significant challenges due to communicating with a spacecraft on the moon’s far side. CNSA navigated this by employing a relay satellite, Queqiao-2, to maintain contact with the lander. The descent involved advanced autonomous visual obstacle avoidance systems and laser 3D scanning to ensure a safe landing.

If the samples return safely, landing in China’s Inner Mongolia region around June 25, they will first be analysed by Chinese scientists before being made available to international researchers. This mission follows China’s successful 2020 Chang’e-5 mission, which retrieved 1.7kg (3.7lb) of material from the moon’s near side.

China is planning three more uncrewed lunar missions this decade, with the broader goal of sending Chinese astronauts to the moon by 2030. Meanwhile, the United States also plans to return astronauts to the moon, targeting a 2026 launch for NASA’s Artemis 3 mission.

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