Here’s Where China’s Sample Return Mission is Headed

Chang'e-6 will land in the Apollo Basin inside the much larger SPA basin. Image Credit: Zeng et al. 2023.

Humanity got its first look at the other side of the Moon in 1959 when the USSR’s Luna 3 probe captured our first images of the Lunar far side. The pictures were shocking, pointing out a pronounced difference between the Moon’s different sides. Now China is sending another lander to the far side.

This time, it’ll bring back a sample from this long-unseen domain that could explain the puzzling difference.

Continue reading “Here’s Where China’s Sample Return Mission is Headed”

China is Going Back to the Moon Again With Chang'e-6

China's Chang'e-6 mission launches from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site. Credit: CGTN

On Friday, May 3rd, the sixth mission in the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (Chang’e-6) launched from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in southern China. Shortly after, China announced that the spacecraft separated successfully from its Long March 5 Y8 rocket. The mission, consisting of an orbiter and lander element, is now on its way to the Moon and will arrive there in a few weeks. By June, the lander element will touch down on the far side of the Moon, where it will gather about 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of rock and soil samples for return to Earth.

Continue reading “China is Going Back to the Moon Again With Chang'e-6”