A lunar probe returns to Earth with the first samples of the far side of the Moon

Beijing— The Chinese probe Chang’e 6 He returned to Earth on Tuesday with rocks and soil samples from the little-explored far side of the Moon, a global first.

The probe landed in northern China on Tuesday afternoonin the Inner Mongolia region.

“I now declare that the Chang’e 6 Lunar Exploration Mission Achieved Complete Success”Zhang Kejian, director of the Chinese National Space Administration, said in a televised briefing shortly after landing.

Chinese scientists believe that Samples will include 2.5-million-year-old volcanic rock and other materials which experts hope will help answer questions about the geographical differences of the two sides of the Moon.

The closest side (of the Moon) is the one seen from Earth, and the hidden side looks towards outer space. It is known to have mountains and impact craters, unlike the relatively flat expanses visible from Earth.

Although previous US and Soviet missions have taken samples from the near side of the Moon, the Chinese mission was the first to collect samples from the far side..

The lunar program is part of a growing rivalry with USAwhich remains a leader in space exploration, and other countries, such as Japan and India. China It has launched its own space station into orbit and frequently sends crews there.

He president of china, Xi Jinpingsent a congratulatory message to the Chang’e team and said it was “a historic achievement in our country’s efforts to become a space and technological power”.

The probe He began a 53-day trip on May 3. The probe has drilled in addition to collecting rocks from the surface.

The samples are expected to “answer one of the most fundamental scientific questions in lunar scientific research: what geological activity is responsible for the differences between the two sides?” explained Zongyu Yue, a geologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciencesin a statement in Innovation Mondaya journal published in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In recent years, China has made several successful missions to the Moonand collected samples from the visible face with the Chang’e 5 probe.

Experts are also confident that the probe brings back material with traces of meteorite impacts on the Moon that occurred in the past. Following the successful re-entry of the probe, scientists will begin studying the samples.