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Illustration of the Chang’e-6 lander on the lunar floor

cnsa.gov.cn

China’s Chang’e 6 spacecraft has efficiently landed on the moon’s far facet and began taking samples of lunar rock from the area for the primary time.

After orbiting the moon for 3 weeks, the craft touched down on 2 June at 0623 Beijing time, touchdown in a relatively flat area within the Apollo crater, which sits inside the South Pole-Aitken impression basin.

The far facet of the moon has no direct communications hyperlink with Earth, so the touchdown process was largely autonomous, though engineers may nonetheless monitor the scenario and ship directions utilizing the Queqiao-2 relay satellite tv for pc, which launched in March this yr and is at the moment in lunar orbit.

Picture from the digital camera on the craft because it approached the touchdown web site

cnsa.gov.cn

As soon as the lander and its connected ascent module had separated from the orbital a part of the spacecraft, they started a managed descent with their engines, utilizing an impediment avoidance system and digital camera to detect boulders and rocks and choose a clean touchdown space. At round 100 metres above the lunar floor, a laser scanner chosen a last web site earlier than the engines switched off and the car made a cushioned landing.

The lander is now within the technique of accumulating samples, utilizing a robotic scoop to assemble floor materials and a drill to extract rock from round 2 metres underground. In line with the China Nationwide Area Administration, this course of will take 14 hours, unfold over two days.

As soon as the samples have been collected, they are going to be transferred to the ascent car, which can blast via the moon’s exosphere to satisfy with and switch the samples to the orbiter module. The orbiter will then make its manner again to Earth and launch a re-entry capsule containing the samples on 25 June so it could land on the Siziwang Banner web site in Interior Mongolia.

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