Space: Chinese spacecraft probe landed on the dark side of the Moon

Scout ship launched by Demon It landed on the dark side of the moon to collect samples in early May, marking a new milestone in the progress of the country’s ambitious space program and trying to catch up with two countries that have a dominant position in the field. field.

The Chang’e 6 probe, which took off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern tropical island of Hainan, landed in the vast South Pole-Aitken Basin, one of the largest known impact craters in our solar system, in China. This was reported by the News Agency with reference to the China Space Agency.

The 53-day mission, which began on May 3, is expected to collect samples from the dark side of the moon, a rarely studied region of the Earth’s moon, according to the official Chinese news agency. first time.

The probe will try to collect lunar material and conduct experiments in the landing zone.

To do this, the vessel will use a drill to collect samples from below the surface, as well as a robotic arm to collect samples from the surface.

New China said the process is expected to be completed within the next two days. Chang’e 6 will then attempt to leave the dark side of the moon.

Ancient lava flows

In 2019, China already sent a spacecraft to the dark side of the Moon, but failed to collect samples.

Scientists believe that the dark side of the Moon – so called because it is not visible from Earth, not because the Sun’s rays do not reach it – is promising for research because the craters on it are not as covered as ancient lava flows. closer and visible sides.

In this way, it can collect samples that will help us understand how the Moon formed.

“The geological age of the samples collected by Chang’e 6 will be about four billion years,” said Ge Ping, deputy director of China’s Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center.

Multi-billion dollar ambitions

China, under President Xi Jinping, has greatly expanded its space program, spending billions of dollars to catch up with, and perhaps even overtake, the two leading countries in the space, the United States and Russia.

It has already achieved several feats, perhaps the most spectacular of which was the construction of the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) space station, where a new team of three astronauts was sent in April.

China also managed to send a spacecraft (a small self-propelled rover) to the surface of Mars. It is the third country to send a man into space with its own means.

Lunar base by 2030

Beijing aims to develop a manned mission to the moon and build a lunar base by 2030.

The rapid progress of China’s space program is causing concern in Washington.

In April, NASA chief Bill Nelson said the US was in a “race” with China.

“We believe that much of what they call the civilian space program is actually a military program,” he testified before the House Appropriations Committee in Washington.

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