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Chinese spacecraft lands on far side of moon

Photo: China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via Associated Press The lunar lander of the Chang'e-4 probe, photo taken by the Yutu-2 rover on January 11, 2019.

Associated Press in Beijing

Posted at 10:52 p.m.

  • Asia

A Chinese spacecraft landed on the far side of the Moon on Sunday to collect soil and rock samples that could provide insight into the differences between the less explored region and the near side, better known.

The module landed at 6:23 a.m. Beijing time in a huge crater known as the South Pole-Aitken basin, the China National Space Administration said.

This mission is the sixth in the Chang'e lunar exploration program, which is named after a Chinese moon goddess. This is the second to bring back samples, after the Chang'e 5, which did so from the near side in 2020.

The Chinese lunar program is in growing rivalry with the United States and other countries, including Japan and India, for space exploration. China has put its own space station into orbit and regularly sends crews there.

The emerging world power aims to send a man to the Moon before 2030, which would make it the second nation after the United States to do so, which plans to land astronauts on the Moon again — for the first time in over by 50 years — although NASA pushed the target date back to 2026 earlier this year.

US efforts to use private-sector rockets to launch spacecraft spacecraft have been repeatedly delayed. Last-minute computer problems canceled Saturday's planned launch of Boeing's first astronaut flight.

Earlier Saturday, a Japanese billionaire canceled plans to orbit around the Moon due to uncertainty surrounding SpaceX's development of a megarocket. NASA plans to use the rocket to send its astronauts to the Moon.

In China's current mission, the lander will use a mechanical arm and a drill to collect up to 2 kilograms of surface and subsurface materials to be returned to a capsule currently orbiting the Moon.

An ascender at the top of the lander will return the samples to the orbiter in a metal vacuum container. The container will be transferred to a re-entry capsule which is expected to return to Earth in the deserts of China's Inner Mongolia region around June 25.

Missions on the face hidden from the Moon are more difficult, because they require a relay satellite to maintain communications.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116