China Lands on Moon’s Far Side

  • 03 Jun 2024

On June 2nd, 2024, China landed an uncrewed spacecraft on the far side of the moon on, a landmark mission aiming to retrieve the world’s first rock and soil samples from the dark lunar hemisphere.

Key Points

  • The Chang’e-6 craft, equipped with an array of tools and its own launcher, touched down in a gigantic impact crater called the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the moon’s space-facing side
  • This is China’s second descent on the far side of the moon, where no other country has reached after. First it was landed on 2019.
  • The mission aims to use a robotic arm and a drill to gather 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of lunar material within a span of three days.
  • Once the collection is complete, the craft will rendezvous with another spacecraft in lunar orbit to enable its return to Earth, with a landing anticipated in China's Inner Mongolia region around June 25.
  • If the samples are safely returned, they will offer scientific community fresh insights into the solar system's formation and the differences between the moon's unexplored far side and its more familiar near side facing Earth.
  • China has also successfully conducted a sample retrieval mission from the moon's near side, bringing back 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs) of material with the Chang'e-5 mission in 2020.