Sunday, June 09, 2024

China Chang'e-6 Far Side Moon Mission Offers Scientists Information Treasure Chest

China Chang'e-6 Far Side Moon Mission Offers Scientists Information Treasure Chest

After its May 3, 2024 launch, James Head, distinguished American professor emeritus of geological sciences at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, spoke about the scientific importance for humanity of China's Chang'e-6 Mission to the Moon's far side south polar region. The Chang'e-6 mission features scientific payloads from France, Italy, Sweden, and Pakistan.

Professor Brown has trained astronaut crews in geology and surface exploration and participated in the selection of landing sites for NASA's Apollo Moon program. Professor Brown studies the roles of volcanism in planetary crusts as well as the geological evolution of Mars, and has served as the investigator on many major international planetary science missions. He has published 25 chapters in books on planetary geology and over 300 refereed articles in scientific journals, and has supervised nearly 40 PhD students.

The Chang'e-6 lunar lander-ascender combination touched down at the designated landing area in the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

The SPA basin (43°±2° south latitude, 154°±4° west longitude) is a large impact crater on the far side of the Moon. At roughly 2,500 km (1,600 mi) in diameter and between 6.2 and 8.2 km (3.9–5.1 mi) deep, it is the largest, oldest, and deepest basin recognized on the Moon.

The ascender of China's Chang'e-6 probe successfully lifted off from the lunar surface on Tuesday morning, June 4, 2024, carrying samples collected from the Moon's far side south polar region—an unprecedented feat in human lunar exploration history. 

The probe's returner, carrying the samples, is expected to make its planned touchdown in the Siziwang Banner in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region around June 25, 2024.

In 2020, Chang'e-5 was the first lunar sample-return mission since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976. The mission made China the third country to return samples from the Moon after the United States and the Soviet Union.

Note: The first phase of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) construction project will see a basic station built by 2035 in the lunar south pole region. This station will have comprehensive scientific facilities with complete basic functions and supporting elements to carry out regular scientific experiments, and to develop and utilize resources on a limited scale, according to Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP).

Video Credit: China Global Television Network (CGTN) Europe

Duration: 4 minutes

Release Date: May 2, 2024

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