June 15, 2024

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A Chinese spacecraft successfully lands on the far side of the moon

A Chinese spacecraft successfully lands on the far side of the moon

Beijing (AFP) – A Chinese spacecraft The spacecraft touched down 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 more famous near side.

The China National Space Administration said the lander landed at 6:23 a.m. Beijing time in a huge crater known as the Antarctica-Aitken Basin.

This mission is the sixth in the Chang’e lunar exploration program, named after the Chinese moon goddess. It is the second designed to return samples yet Zhang 5Which he did on the near side in 2020.

The moon program is part of a growing rivalry with the United States – which remains a leader in space exploration – and others, including… Japan And India. China has placed its own space station in orbit on a regular basis Sends crews there.

Objectives of the emerging global power To put a person on the moon Before 2030, making it the second country after the United States to do so. America plans to land astronauts on the moon again – for the first time in more than 50 years – despite NASA Pushing the target date back to 2026 earlier this year.

US efforts to use private rockets to launch spacecraft have been repeatedly delayed. Last minute computer problem He canceled the planned launch Boeing’s first spaceflight on Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, a Japanese billionaire He canceled his plan To orbit around the moon due to uncertainty about its evolution Huge missile By SpaceX. NASA plans to use the rocket to send its astronauts to the moon.

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On the current China mission, the lander will use a mechanical arm and auger to collect up to 2 kg (4.4 lb) of surface and subterranean material over about two days.

Then, an ascender atop the lander will take the samples in a metal vacuum container to another module orbiting the moon. The container will be transferred to a reentry capsule that is scheduled to return to Earth in the deserts of China’s Inner Mongolia region around June 25.

Journeys to the far side of the Moon are more difficult because it is not facing Earth, requiring a satellite to maintain communications. The terrain is also more rugged, with less flat areas of land.

The Antarctic-Aitken Basin, an impact crater that formed more than 4 billion years ago, is 13 kilometers (8 miles) deep and 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) in diameter, according to a report from China’s Xinhua news agency.

Xinhua said that it is the oldest and largest crater on the surface of the moon, so it may provide the first information about it, adding that the huge impact may have led to the ejection of materials from deep within the surface.