China’s Chang’e-6 probe landed on the far side of the Moon on Sunday morning and will collect terrain samples for the first time in human history, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced.

Supported by the Queqiao-2 relay satellite, the combination lander and ascender of the Chang’e-6 probe successfully landed at the designated landing area at 6:23 am (Beijing time) in the South Pole-Aitken Basin (SPA).

Chang’e-6 consists of an orbiter, a return module, a lander and an elevator. Since its launch on May 3 this year, the probe has gone through several stages, such as Earth-Moon transfer, braking near the Moon, lunar orbit and descent to landing. The lander and ascender combination separated from the orbiter and return module combination on May 30, CNSA said.

The landing site is in an impact crater known as the Apollo Basin, located within the SPA Basin. The choice was made because of the potential scientific exploration value of the Apollo Basin, as well as the conditions of the landing area, including communication and telemetry conditions and the flatness of the terrain, said Huang Hao, a space expert at China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation ( CASC).


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