Chang’e 6 Returns to Earth with Moon Samples

The Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 6 has successfully landed on Earth, bringing with it a cargo of samples collected from the far side of the Moon. The capsule, which launched its mission nearly two months ago, touched down in the Inner Mongolia region of China on Tuesday.

The orbiter had released the reentry module with the lunar samples into Earth’s orbit earlier, and the module successfully entered the atmosphere at 2:07 pm local time (06:07 GMT). The probe then began deceleration maneuvers, slowing down its speed to land safely on the marked site.

The last step of the speed reduction maneuver involved opening the parachute, which helped maintain a stable altitude and ensured a soft landing. The recovery teams have now begun preparing the capsule for transport to Beijing, where it will be opened to extract the samples collected.

This mission marks a significant achievement for China, making it the first country to collect lunar samples from the far side of the Moon. The country plans to dedicate its next two Chang’e missions to the exploration of the lunar south pole, where it will search for water ice deposits and lay the foundations for manned exploration.

The Chang’e 7 mission is scheduled to reach the lunar south pole in 2026, while the Chang’e 8 mission will explore possible uses of the resources discovered by its predecessor in 2028.

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