China has launched an unmanned spacecraft to collect soil samples from the far side of the Moon, state media reported, marking the first global attempt of its kind.

A Long March-5 rocket, carrying the Chang’e-6 spacecraft, lifted off in the afternoon from the Wenchang Space Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

In December 2020, the Chang’e-5 space probe returned to Earth with the first samples of lunar soil in 44 years.

In January 2019, Chang’e-4 made the first soft landing of a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, which always faces away from Earth, and successfully sent back the first photos of it.

Beijing aims to achieve a manned moon landing by 2030 and complete a lunar research base by 2035.


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