China will collect samples from the dark side of the moon

A new Chinese mission will analyze samples from the covered face of the satellite

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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China will collect samples from the dark side of the moon
© Wikimedia commons

China will collect and analyze samples from the dark side of the moon.

The Chang'e 6 mission, which departed from the Wenchang launch base, will reach the lunar south pole to collect soil samples: if it succeeds, it would be the first mission to collect samples from the dark side of the moon. The mission will last a total of 53 days.

It is in fact a robotic lunar mission: the rocket will complete a series of increasingly wide orbits around the Earth, then travel for several days in the direction of the Moon.

Moon
Moon© Bill Ingalls/NASA / Handout
 

Once it reaches lunar orbit, a lander will descend into the Apollo crater, a crater formed following a violent impact with a large meteorite about 4 billion years ago. Precisely for this reason soil samples of this.

The lander will use an innovative drill that will attempt to collect samples up to 2 meters deep. The collected materials will then be transferred on board the ascent module which will leave to reunite with the re-entry module waiting in orbit, and then head towards Earth.

The dark side of the moon

The far side of the Moon is the hemisphere of the Earth's natural satellite not observable from our planet, as a result of the lunar rotation.

The hidden surface does not reach half of this celestial body, but is only 41%. No human being could ever admire the view until October 10, 1959, when the Soviet spaceship Luna 3 photographed it for the first time during its passage.

Moon
Moon© NASA / Handout Getty Images
 

United States of America, thanks to the Apollo 8 mission and its crew composed of astronauts Frank Borman, William Anders and Jim Lovell, men were able to directly observe the hidden face on December 24, 1968. In the hypothesis of a future stable colonization of Moon, it was decided to set up a base on the hidden side that would allow better observation of the universe without the influence of the Earth.

On January 3, 2019, the Chinese Chang'e 4 mission was the first to touch the ground on the far side with a lander capable of communicating with the control base on Earth via a satellite placed in orbit outside the Earth-Moon system.