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Technology

Chinese Rocket Successfully Lifts Off, Bound for Moon’s Unseen Hemisphere

Chinese Rocket Successfully Lifts Off, Bound for Moon's Unseen
AFP AFP
Chinese Rocket Successfully Lifts Off, Bound for Moon's Unseen
AFP AFP

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Chinese Rocket Successfully Lifts Off, Bound for Moon’s Unseen Hemisphere

China has embarked on a groundbreaking mission to gather samples from the far side of the Moon, marking a significant milestone in space exploration.

The Chang’e-6 probe was launched aboard an unmanned rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Center at around 17:27 local time. The 53-day mission aims to collect approximately two kilograms of lunar samples from the side of the Moon that faces away from Earth.

Although commonly referred to as the “dark side” of the Moon, this term is misleading, as it receives sunlight like the near side. However, it features a thicker, more cratered crust with fewer ancient lava flows, making it an intriguing target for scientific study.

Ge Ping, vice director of China’s Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center, emphasized the historic nature of the mission, stating that Chang’e-6 will collect samples from the far side of the Moon for the first time.

Named after the Moon goddess in Chinese mythology, the Chang’e-6 probe is expected to make a soft landing in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, a vast depression on the Moon’s far side. Once landed, it will utilize a drill and a mechanical arm to gather lunar soil and rocks, as well as conduct various experiments.

The probe will utilize a relay satellite named Queqiao 2 to facilitate communication with Earth. This mission marks China’s first of three planned uncrewed missions to the Moon in this decade.

Following Chang’e-6, China plans to send Chang’e-7 to explore the lunar south pole for water and Chang’e-8 to assess the feasibility of constructing the International Lunar Research Station. These missions build upon the success of Chang’e-5, which returned with samples of the Moon’s youngest lavas in December 2020.

China’s space exploration program has made significant strides in recent years, with accomplishments such as landing a rover on the far side of the Moon in 2019. Looking ahead, China aims to land its first astronauts on the Moon by 2030, as well as conduct missions to Mars and Jupiter.


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