China’s Chang’e 6 Returns with Historic Moon Samples

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China’s Chang’e 6 Returns with Historic Moon Samples

China’s Chang’e 6 probe made a historic return to Earth on Tuesday, bringing back rock and soil samples from the far side of the moon, a global first. The probe successfully landed in northern China’s Inner Mongolian region on Tuesday afternoon.

“I now declare that the Chang’e 6 Lunar Exploration Mission has achieved complete success,” announced Zhang Kejian, Director of the China National Space Administration, in a televised news conference following the landing.

Chinese scientists are eagerly awaiting the analysis of the returned samples, which are expected to include 2.5 million-year-old volcanic rock and other materials. These samples will help answer questions about the geological differences between the moon’s near and far sides. The near side, visible from Earth, contrasts with the mountainous and cratered far side facing outer space.

While previous U.S. and Soviet missions have collected samples from the near side of the moon, China’s Chang’e 6 mission is the first to bring back samples from the far side. This achievement marks a significant milestone in China’s space exploration efforts and its growing rivalry with other space-faring nations, including the United States, Japan, and India. China has also established its own space station in orbit and regularly sends crews there.

President Xi Jinping congratulated the Chang’e team, calling the mission a “landmark achievement in our country’s efforts to become a space and technological power.”

The Chang’e 6 probe launched from Earth on May 3 and completed its 53-day journey by drilling into the moon’s core and collecting surface rocks. These samples are expected to provide crucial insights into one of lunar science’s most fundamental questions: what geological activity accounts for the differences between the moon’s two sides?

“The samples are expected to answer one of the most fundamental scientific questions in lunar science research: what geologic activity is responsible for the differences between the two sides?” stated Zongyu Yue, a geologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in a statement published in Innovation Monday, a journal partnered with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In recent years, China has launched multiple successful lunar missions, including the Chang’e 5 probe, which collected samples from the near side of the moon. The Chang’e 6 mission aims to further expand our understanding by returning with material that bears traces of meteorite impacts from the moon’s past. With the successful re-entry of the probe, Chinese scientists will now begin the detailed study of these groundbreaking samples.

Yasir Monon
Yasir Monon
Online Editor, Business Mirror

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