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China’s Chang’e-6 successfully lands on Moon’s far side

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Beijing, June 2: A Chinese spacecraft successfully touched down on the far side of the Moon on Sunday, in the first endeavour of its kind to collect samples from this rarely explored terrain.
The Chang’e-6 landed at the designated landing area at 6:23 am (Beijing Time) in the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin for the first time in human history, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced.
Chang’e-6 consists of an orbiter, a returner, a lander and an ascender.
Since its launch on May 3 this year, it has gone through various stages such as Earth-Moon transfer, near-Moon braking, lunar orbiting and landing descent.
The lander-ascender combination separated from the orbiter-returner combination on May 30, the CNSA said.
For the powered descent, regarded as the most complex manoeuvre, an autonomous visual obstacle avoidance system was used to automatically detect obstacles. A visible light camera selected a comparatively safe landing area based on the brightness and darkness of the lunar surface, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Chang’e-6 mission is tasked with collecting and returning samples from the Moon’s far side, the first endeavour of its kind.
India became the first country to land near the little-explored lunar south pole region last year when its Chandrayaan-3’s lander, carrying the Pragyaan rover successfully landed there.
The Chang’e-6 landing site is at an impact crater known as the Apollo Basin, located within the SPA Basin. The choice was made for the Apollo Basin’s potential value of scientific exploration, as well as the conditions of the landing area, including communication and telemetry conditions and the flatness of the terrain, Huang Hao, a space expert from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said.
After the landing, the probe is scheduled to complete sampling within two days. (PTI)

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