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China lands on moon’s far side

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China successfully landed an uncrewed spacecraft, Chang’e-6, on the moon’s far side. This mission aims to collect rock and soil samples, marking the first-ever sample retrieval from this part of the moon. The spacecraft touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin at 6:23 am Beijing time.

China’s accomplishment highlights its growing status in the global space race. The United States and other countries are also eyeing lunar resources for future missions and moon bases. The Chang’e-6 mission is China’s second successful landing on the moon’s far side, a region that poses significant challenges due to its deep craters and communication difficulties.

The Chang’e-6 spacecraft launched on May 3 from Hainan Island and reached the moon a week later. The mission aims to collect 2kg of lunar material using a scoop and drill. The samples will be sent back to Earth, expected to land in Inner Mongolia around June 25.

This mission will help scientists learn more about the moon’s history and the solar system’s formation. It also allows for comparisons between the moon’s far side and the more explored near side. A simulation lab will aid in developing sampling strategies.

China’s future lunar plans include sending astronauts to the moon by 2030, in collaboration with Russia. The United States also has plans for crewed moon missions through its Artemis program, partnering with several countries and relying on private companies like SpaceX.

In related news, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa canceled a private moon mission due to schedule uncertainties with SpaceX’s Starship rocket, and Boeing and NASA postponed the first crewed launch of the Starliner capsule.

China’s successful mission marks a significant milestone in space exploration, opening new opportunities for scientific discoveries.

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