Chinese To Explore Far Side of Moon in 2024
Sept. 30, 2023, (EIRNS)—The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has published details about its next journey to the Moon, announcing plans to launch the expedition sometime next year. Dubbed Chang’e-6, the mission would mark Beijing’s second attempt to obtain samples from Earth’s natural satellite. “The pre-selected landing area for the Chang’e-6 mission is located in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the Moon, with a view to discovering and collecting lunar samples from different regions and ages to enhance human understanding of the Moon,” the agency said.
CNSA added that the spacecraft Chang’e, named after the Chinese Moon goddess, would carry “payloads and satellite projects from four countries,” including advanced sensors developed by France, Italy, Pakistan, and the European Space Agency.
To facilitate contact between the Chang’e-6 and its operators on Earth, China’s newly developed Queqiao-2 relay communication satellite will also contribute to the mission. That project is set to be completed by the first half of 2024, said CNSA.
Chang’e-6 will aim to gather up to 2 kg of material from the lunar surface, which researchers will analyze for evidence of water ice and other compounds. China’s 2020 Chang’e-5 mission marked its first successful attempt to bring home samples from the Moon, putting Beijing among a small group of nations to do so, alongside the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
Following Chang’e-6, China says it plans two other Chang’e missions, Chang'e-7, and Chang'e-8, which will seek to send a robotic lander to the Moon’s South Pole, and ultimately construct a research station in the area.