China lander got the dark side of the moon and collects samples

It was a historic day for space exploration

by Lorenzo Ciotti
China lander got the dark side of the moon and collects samples
© NASA / Handout Getty Images Sport

It is a historic day: the lander launched by China, as part of the Chang'e 6 space mission, landed on the dark side of the Moon. The objective was to collect samples of material and bring them back to Earth, objectives achieved today. Chang'e 6 landed inside a crater known as the South Pole-Aitken Basin, a region that promises to reveal valuable information about the geology and distribution of water on the Moon.

R hypothesize that the composition of the samples that will be taken from the far side of the Moon may be very different from that of the materials collected so far by the Apollo missions and other Chinese explorations. After landing, Chang'e 6's schedule calls for the lander to spend three days studying the area, drilling into the ground and collecting samples.

Already in 2020, the Chang'e 5 module landed on the visible side and collected regolith samples for the first time since 1976, when the Soviet Union succeeded. But considering the difficulty of communications with the dark side of the Moon, with Saturday evening's landing China has definitely raised the bar.

Once the material has been collected, the module with the samples will dock with the lunar orbiter; at this point, the lunar finds transferred to another module, which will then make the return journey to Earth. The material will then be taken to a laboratory in Beijing for analysis. According to scientists, the study of the new samples will allow us to obtain new and important information on the geology of the Moon and on the amount of water that the satellite could contain.