Chinese spacecraft has successfully landed on the far side of the moon

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese spacecraft It landed on the far side of the moon on Sunday to collect soil and rock samples that could provide insights into the differences between the less-explored region and the better-known nearby region.

The China National Space Administration said the lander touched down in a large crater known as the South Pole-Aitken Basin at 6:23 a.m. Beijing time.

The mission is the sixth in the Chang’e lunar exploration program, named after the Chinese moon goddess. It is the second designed to bring back the models after that Song 5It did so from close quarters in 2020.

The Moon program is part of a growing rivalry with the United States — still the leader in space exploration — and others Japan and India. China has its own space station in orbit Sending groups there.

The purpose of a rising world power To put a man on the moon Before 2030, it will become only the second country to do so after the United States. The U.S. plans to land astronauts on the moon again — for the first time in more than 50 years — though NASA Pushed back the target date to 2026 earlier this year.

U.S. efforts to use private sector rockets to launch spacecraft have been repeatedly delayed. Last minute computer problem Stopped planned release Boeing’s first space flight Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, a Japanese billionaire Abandoned his plan To orbit the moon because of the uncertainty of growth Mega Rocket By SpaceX. NASA plans to use a rocket to send its astronauts to the moon.

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China’s current mission requires the lander to collect 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of surface and subsurface material in about two days using a mechanical arm and a drill.

The lander would then carry the samples in a metal vacuum container to another module orbiting the moon. The container will transfer to the re-entry capsule that will return to Earth on June 25 in the deserts of China’s Inner Mongolia region.

Long-distance missions to the Moon are more difficult because it does not face Earth, requiring a relay satellite to maintain communications. The terrain is more rugged, with less flat areas to land on.

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

It is the oldest and largest of such craters on the moon, so it may provide the first information about it, Xinhua said, adding that the massive impact may have ejected material from beneath the surface.

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