China’s Chang’e-6 lunar probe made a historic landing on the far side of the Moon, marking a significant milestone for the country’s space program. The probe touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, one of the largest impact craters in the solar system. This successful landing is the first time samples will be collected from this rarely explored area of the Moon.

The Chang’e-6 probe embarked on a technically complex 53-day mission that began on May 3. It descended from its orbit about 200 kilometers above the Moon to search for a suitable landing site. The descent posed certain risks, requiring precise control procedures to ensure the probe followed its preset trajectory. Once on the surface, the probe will collect lunar soil and rocks using a drill to gather samples from beneath the surface and a robotic arm to retrieve specimens from the surface.

Scientists believe that the Moon’s dark side, or far side, holds great promise for research due to its relatively untouched craters. Unlike the near side, which has been more affected by ancient lava flows, the dark side’s craters are better preserved. Studying materials collected from this area could provide valuable insights into the Moon’s formation and history.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has accelerated its space exploration efforts as part of its “space dream.” The country has invested heavily in its space program over the past decade with the goal of narrowing the gap with traditional space powers like the United States and Russia. China has achieved significant milestones such as building a space station called Tiangong, landing robotic rovers on Mars and the Moon, and sending humans into orbit independently.

While China’s space achievements are commendable, there are concerns raised by the United States about the country’s space program. Washington has warned that China’s space endeavors could be used to advance military objectives and establish dominance in space. Despite these challenges, China remains focused on its goal of sending a crewed mission to the Moon by 2030 and establishing a lunar base in the future.

China’s successful landing of the Chang’e-6 probe on the far side of the Moon highlights the country’s growing capabilities in space exploration. With ambitious goals and significant investments in its space program, China is poised to make further advancements in the coming years. As countries like the United States also have plans to return astronauts to the Moon, the race for space exploration continues to intensify on a global scale.

Space

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