tirsdag 25. juni 2024

China’s Chang’e-6 moon mission returns to Earth with historic far side samples

China’s Chang’e-6 lunar module returned to Earth Tuesday, completing its historic mission to collect the first ever samples from the far side of the moon in a major step forward for the country’s ambitious space program. The reentry module “successfully landed” in a designated zone in China’s northern Inner Mongolia region just after 2 p.m. local time, according to state broadcaster CCTV. A livestream showed the module touching down via parachute to a round of applause in the control room.

A search team located the module minutes after its landing, according to CCTV. The livestream showed a worker carrying out checks on the module, which lay on grassland beside a Chinese flag. The mission is a key milestone in China’s “eternal dream” – as articulated by Chinese leader Xi Jinping – to establish the country as a dominant space power and comes as a number of countries, including the United States, also ramp up their own lunar exploration programs.