China successfully launches lunar probe mission to collect samples for first time from far side of moon

China on Friday launched a 53-day-long lunar probe mission to collect samples for the first time from the far side of the moon and bring them for scientific studies.
China successfully launches lunar probe mission
China successfully launches lunar probe mission

Beijing/Wenchang | China on Friday launched a 53-day-long lunar probe mission to collect samples for the first time from the far side of the moon and bring them for scientific studies.

The Chang'e-6 mission is tasked with collecting and then returning samples from the moon's far side to Earth -- the first endeavour of its kind in the history of human lunar exploration, China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

The entire mission would last for 53 days. The far side of the moon is not visible from Earth.

An hour after the launch, an official announced that Chang'e-6's launch was "a complete success".

The lunar probe was carried by a Long March-5 Y8 rocket blasted off smoothly from the Wenchang Space Launch Site on the coast of China's southern island province of Hainan. The launch was telecast live by state-run television.

Chang'e 6 consists of four components: an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a re-entry module, according to CNSA.

After collecting dust and rocks on the moon, the ascender will transport the samples to the lunar orbiter for transfer to the re-entry module, which will carry them back to Earth.

The CNSA said earlier that the mission is poised to make breakthroughs in key technologies, such as automatic sample collection, take-off and ascent from the far side of the moon. Meanwhile, the probe will carry out scientific exploration of the landing zone.

The CNSA has announced that scientific instruments from France, Italy and the European Space Agency/Sweden will be on board the lander of the Chang'e-6 mission and a Pakistani payload on the orbiter.

This is the first time that China has included an orbiter from its all-weather ally Pakistan in its moon mission.

According to reports from Pakistan quoting the Institute of Space Technology (IST), the satellite ICUBE-Q has been designed and developed by IST in collaboration with China's Shanghai University SJTU and Pakistan's national space agency Suparco.

ICUBE-Q orbiter carries two optical cameras to image the lunar surface.

The Chang'e lunar exploration probe is named after the Chinese mythical moon goddess.

The Chang'e 5 brought samples from the moon's near side. Chinese said the analysis of the samples found they contained water in tiny beads embedded in lunar dirt.

China also plans to have a lunar station on the moon in future.

A major space power, China in the past successfully launched unmanned missions to the moon, including landing a rover. China has also sent a rover to Mars and built a space station, which is currently in operation.

Earlier, China announced plans for a manned lunar landing by 2030.

India became the first country to land near the little-explored lunar south pole region last year when its Chandrayaan-3's lander, carrying the Pragyaan rover successfully landed there

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