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A Chinese space probe lands on the far side of the moon

A Chinese space probe lands on the far side of the moon

The Chang'e 6 probe, launched in early May from the Wenchang Space Launch Center, on the Chinese tropical island of Hainan (south), landed as planned in the huge Aitken Basin, at the lunar South Pole, one of the largest impact craters. The Chinese Space Administration said, citing the official Xinhua News Agency.

This mission is the sixth in China's Chang'e Moon exploration program, named after the Chinese moon goddess, and will be the second to return samples from the Moon to Earth, after the first on the near side of the celestial body in 2020.

In the new mission, the module will use a mechanical arm and a drill to collect up to 2 kg of surface and subterranean material, to be sent back to Earth in a capsule currently orbiting the moon.

A projectile at the top of the module will carry the samples to the orbiting spacecraft in a metal vacuum container, which will be transferred to a re-entry capsule that is expected to return to Earth in the deserts of China's Inner Mongolia region around June 25.

Missions to the far side of the Moon are more difficult because they require a satellite to maintain communications.

Among China's recent space achievements are the exploration of Mars and the construction of its own space station, Tiangong, where it regularly sends crews.

China's space ambition continues to grow, with Tiangong potentially becoming the only operational space station if the International Space Station is withdrawn as planned.

The lunar program is part of a growing competition with the United States and other countries, including Japan and India, for space exploration.

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China aims to send a human to the moon before 2030, making it the second country to do so after the United States.

NASA plans to send astronauts to the moon again – for the first time in more than 50 years – although earlier this year it pushed back the target date to 2026.