CHANG’E-6 (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     26th June 2024        
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Context: China’s Chang’e-6 on Tuesday became the first spacecraft to bring back samples from the far side of the Moon, the part that the Earth never gets to see.


Chang’e-6

  • About: It is a lunar lander and sample return mission that landed on the far side of the Moon within the South Pole Aitken Basin.
  • Launched by: China's National Space Administration spearheads the Chang'e 6 mission.
  • Carried by: The mission is propelled into space by the Long March-5 Y8 rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan.
  • Components: The spacecraft comprises four modules, a service module, lander, ascent vehicle, and reentry capsule.
  • Objective: To collect about 2 kg of material from the far side of the Moon within about two days of landing and bring it back to Earth.
  • Significance: This mission marks the first attempt in human lunar exploration history to collect and return samples from the moon's surface.
  • Chang'e 4: Landed in the Von Karman crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin in 2019, making history with the Yutu-2 rover's successful soft landing on the moon's far side.
  • Chang'e 5: Its descender and lander touched down on Mons Rumker, a vast volcanic plain on the moon.

History of Lunar Sample Return Missions

  • Apollo 11 Mission: In 1969, Apollo 11 brought 22 kg of lunar surface material, including 50 rocks, back to Earth.
  • Soviet Luna 16 Mission: Luna 16 marked the first robotic sample return mission, bringing pieces of the Moon to Earth.
  • Chang’e-5 Mission: Chang’e-5 successfully returned 2 kg of lunar soil, demonstrating China's capability in lunar sample return.
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