China Makes Lunar History with Chang'e-6 Mission from the Moon's Far Side

World | June 25, 2024, Tuesday // 10:39
Bulgaria: China Makes Lunar History with Chang'e-6 Mission from the Moon's Far Side

China's Chang'e-6 spacecraft successfully completed its groundbreaking mission to retrieve samples from the far side of the moon, returning to Earth after a challenging 53-day journey, as reported by AFP.

This mission stands out as one of China's most ambitious space endeavors to date due to its technical complexity. Chang'e-6 comprises an orbiter, descent and lift modules, and a return module, all essential for its lunar exploration objectives. Today, it touched down in a desert area in northern China.

The far side of the Moon, often referred to as the dark side because it remains unseen from Earth, presents a unique opportunity for scientific discovery. Its rugged terrain, less affected by ancient lava flows compared to the near side, holds significant potential for unraveling the moon's formation and history.

Launched on May 3 from the Wenchang Spaceport in Hainan province, southern China, the Chang'e-6 mission reached its lunar target on June 2. It landed within one of the largest known craters in the Solar System, near the Moon's South Pole.

Equipped with a drill and robotic arm, the lunar module successfully collected samples of lunar dust and rocks. Additionally, it captured detailed images of the lunar surface and planted a Chinese flag in the gray soil of the far side.

A pivotal moment in the mission occurred on June 4 when the lift module executed the first-ever liftoff from the far side of the Moon, transferring the collected samples to the waiting orbiting module. These samples were subsequently transported back to Earth in the return module.

The operation required precise coordination and technical prowess, including the use of a Chinese relay satellite to maintain communication between Earth and the far side of the Moon throughout the mission.

Over the past three decades, China has significantly bolstered its space exploration capabilities, investing heavily in its space programs to close the gap with leading nations in space exploration such as the United States, Russia, and Europe, according to AFP.

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Tags: China, moon, Chang'e-6

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