Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the far side of the Moon, will take soil and rock samples

BEIJING: A Chinese spacecraft landed on the far side of the moon on Sunday in a first-of-its-kind effort to collect soil and rock samples that could provide insights into the differences between the moon’s less-explored region and its well-known near side. The near side is the lunar hemisphere that always faces Earth, opposite to the far side. According to the China National Space Administration, Chang’e-6 landed for the first time in human history in a huge crater called the South Pole-Aitken Basin at 6:23 am Beijing local time. Chang’e-6 consists of an orbiter, a returner, a lander and an ascender.

The mission is named after China’s mythological moon goddess. In one of the most complex attempts, an autonomous visual obstacle avoidance system was used to detect obstacles for landing on the lunar surface, state news agency Xinhua reported. A light camera selected a location for a relatively safe landing based on light and darkness on the lunar surface. The Chang’e-6 mission is tasked with collecting and returning samples from the far side of the moon, which is a first of its kind. India last year became the first country to land near the less explored south pole of the Moon.

Its Chandrayaan-3 lander carrying the Pragyan rover had successfully landed there. Sending a mission to the far side of the moon is more difficult because it is not facing the Earth, due to which a relay satellite is needed to maintain communication. Also, this part is more rugged where there is very little flat land for the lander to land. After landing on the moon, Chang’e-6 has to collect samples within two days. It has adopted two methods to collect samples from the moon, which include using a drill to collect subsurface samples and collecting samples from the surface through robots. This is the first time that China has included an orbiter of partner country Pakistan in its lunar mission.

Earlier in 2020, Chang’e 5 also collected samples from the nearest part of the Moon. China also plans to establish a lunar station on the Moon in the future. The Chang’e-6 program has been launched amid growing rivalry with the US and other countries including Japan and India. China has established its own space station in space and regularly sends crew members there. China, which has emerged as a major space power, has previously sent unmanned missions to the Moon, including sending a rover. China has also sent a rover to Mars and built a space station which is currently working. China aims to send a man to the Moon before 2030, making it the second country after the US to do so. The US is planning to send astronauts to the Moon again for the first time in more than 50 years.

Disclaimer: CricketInFocus has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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