Home > NEWS
China launches Chang'e-6 to retrieve samples from moon's far side
SOURCE: Xinhua     UPDATED: 2024-05-06

A Long March-5 rocket, carrying the Chang'e-6 spacecraft, blasted off from its launchpad at the Wenchang Space Launch Site on the coast of China's southern island province of Hainan on Friday afternoon.

The Chang'e-6 mission is tasked with collecting and returning samples from the moon's mysterious far side, the first endeavor of its kind in the history of human lunar exploration.

The Chang'e-6 spacecraft, like its predecessor Chang'e-5, comprises an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a returner.

After it reaches the moon, it will make a soft landing on the far side. Within 48 hours after landing, a robotic arm will be extended to scoop rocks and soil from the lunar surface, and a drill will bore into the ground. Scientific detection work will be carried out simultaneously.

After the samples are sealed in a container, the ascender will take off from the moon and dock with the orbiter in lunar orbit. The returner will then carry the samples back to Earth, landing in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The entire flight is expected to last about 53 days, the China National Space Administration said.

The Chang'e-6 mission is carrying four payloads developed through international cooperation. Scientific instruments from France, Italy and the European Space Agency/Sweden are aboard the Chang'e-6 lander, and a small satellite from Pakistan is aboard the orbiter.