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China Prepares Sample Return Mission to the Far Side of the Moon

April 28, 2024 (EIRNS)—The Long March 5Y-8 rocket has been transported to the launchpad at the Wenchang Launch site in preparation for the Chang’e-6 lunar mission sometime in early May, which will travel to the far side of the Moon for the first ever sample return from there. Chang’e-6 will touch down in the Apollo Basin, an area of rugged terrain beyond the range of direct communication with the Earth. But communication will be maintained through the Queqiao-2 satellite which was sent up in March.

”[Chang’e 6] will make breakthroughs in lunar orbit design and control technology, intelligent sampling technology and take-off and ascent technology on the lunar dark side, and ultimately achieve automatic sampling and return from the lunar dark side,” said Ge Ping, deputy director at the CNSA’s Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center.

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