China.  The mission returns to the dark side of the moon.  The samples were collected from Chang’e-6

The Chinese Chang’e-6 probe has returned to Earth. It contained rock samples from the “dark” side of the Moon – the part of our natural satellite that is not visible to observers on Earth. For the first time in the history of space exploration, rocks were collected from this place and transported to Earth.

China’s Chang’e-6 lunar probe landed in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region on Tuesday. There was a unique payload on board – samples of lunar soil from the so-called dark side of the Moon.

“It was a complete success.”

The samples come from the Aitken Basin, a giant impact crater on the side of the Moon that always faces away from our planet. Rock debris was collected from the surface and subsurface layers. This is the first case in history of transferring samples from the “dark” side of the Moon to Earth.

“The Chang’e-6 lunar exploration mission has achieved complete success,” said Zhang Kejian, director of the China National Space Administration.

In 2020, China returned to Earth samples of lunar soil from the visible side of the Moon. Previously, this was last achieved as part of the American Apollo program in the 1970s. The Celestial Empire has ambitious plans for our satellite – by 2030 it wants to send astronauts to the Moon and in the future create a permanent base there.

Visualization of the Moon’s “dark side” based on LRO dataNASA Scientific Visualization Studio

Reuters, CNN,

Main image source: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

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