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China’s Chang-e 6 mission lifts off from far side of moon

In World
June 04, 2024

June 4 (UPI) — China’s space agency said its Chang-e 6 mission lifted off from the far side of the moon on Tuesday, as it begins its journey transporting samples and moon rocks back to Earth.

The probe’s ascender lifted off from the moon’s surface at 7:38 a.m., Beijing time, according to China’s National Space Administration, which said in a statement that about six minutes later its engines successfully put the ascender into its predetermined lunar orbit.

The probe consists of an orbiter, lander, ascender and returner and was launched into space in early May, reaching the far said of the moon’s surface on Sunday.

Over the last two days it collected samples from a crater known as the Pole-Aitken basin on the far side of the moon. It also captured and transported images back to Earth, some of which CNSA has published online.

CNSA said the samples were sealed in a storage device carried by the ascender vehicle.

“Intelligent sampling is one of the core key components of the Chang’e 6 mission,” CNSA said in the statement.

During its time on the moon, the probe withstood “high temperatures” and used a drilling tool and a mechanical arm to collect lunar samples, it said.

The probe had sought to collect some of the oldest known rocks to exist on the moon’s south pole, which Chinese scientists have said they hope could shed light on how planets form.

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