May 24, 2024

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Video: Launch of the Chinese Chang’e-6 spacecraft on the far side of the moon

Video: Launch of the Chinese Chang’e-6 spacecraft on the far side of the moon

According to Yuki Qian, a lunar geologist at the University of Hong Kong, the Chang’e-6 lander is equipped with a camera, spectrometer and radar to investigate its surroundings and choose a place to collect a sample. You’ll collect soil from the surface using a mechanical arm and collect a subsurface sample from up to 6.5 feet away using a drill.

A vehicle will then launch on the lunar lander, passing the sample to the orbiter’s reentry module for return to Earth.

Since the same side of the Moon always faces Earth, it is impossible to make direct communications with the far side of the Moon. In 2018, China sent the Qiaoqiao satellite into lunar orbit to transmit information from Chang’e-4 to Earth. In March, it launched a second satellite called Queqiao-2. The tandem pair will be used to maintain contact with Chang’e-6 while collecting samples.

China’s lunar exploration program is one aspect of the country’s growing presence in space, which includes missions to Mars and the future Visits to asteroids. The Chang’e mission series, designed in the 1990s, included three phases: orbiting, landing, and sampling. So far, it has achieved a 100 percent success rate.

Dr. Qian said that with the return of the Chang’e-6 sample, China’s lunar exploration will revolve around a new strategy: investigate, build and use. The next two missions are already in development.

Chang’e-7, expected to be launched in 2026, will search for water near the moon’s south pole. Chang’e-8 will survey material in the same area that will likely be used to build future infrastructure. According to the China National Space Administration.

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China hopes to send astronauts to the moon in 2030, and is also working to establish a permanent international base for lunar research by the 2030s.

If the first leg of the Chang’e-6 mission is successful, the spacecraft will be the third to land on the moon in 2024.

Japan reached the moon using its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, on January 20. The small spacecraft ended up in an awkward position, with its engine nozzle pointed toward space. But it also made Japan the fifth country to reach the moon’s surface. Unexpectedly, the SLIM lander continued to do so Job on the moon Long after the Japanese space agency expected to lose contact with the robotic vehicle.

The second landing on the moon this year was the first carried out by a spacecraft operated by the private sector. Odysseus, built by Intuitive Machines of Houston, reached the lunar surface on February 22. But the spacecraft flipped over, limiting the amount of science it could complete before freezing during the lunar night. Intuitive Machines has plans for another mission soon.