China’s Chang’e-6 robot lands on Moon’s far side – by Georgina Rannard and Laura Bicker ( – June 2, 2024)

China says its uncrewed craft has successfully landed on the far side of the Moon – an unexplored place almost no-one tries to go. The Chang’e-6 touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin at 06:23 Beijing time on Sunday morning (22:23 GMT Saturday), the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

Launched on 3 May, the mission aims to collect precious rock and soil from this region for the first time in history. The probe could extract some of the Moon’s oldest rocks from a huge crater on its South Pole.

The landing was fraught with risks, because it is very difficult to communicate with spacecraft once they reach the far side of the Moon. China is the only country to have achieved the feat before, landing its Chang’e-4 in 2019.

After launching from Wenchang Space Launch Center, the Chang’e-6 spacecraft had been orbiting the Moon waiting to land.

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