News Brief

Chinese Probe Brings Back Volcanic Rock From Moon's Far Side In Landmark Lunar Mission

Bhuvan Krishna

Jun 25, 2024, 02:59 PM | Updated 02:58 PM IST

China's Chang'e-6 on far side of moon.
China's Chang'e-6 on far side of moon.

China's Chang'e 6 probe has returned to Earth on Tuesday (25 June), bringing rock and soil samples from the far side of the moon, as per a report by The Indian Express.

The probe landed in northern China on Tuesday afternoon, specifically in the Inner Mongolian region.

Chinese scientists anticipate that the returned samples will include 2.5 million-year-old volcanic rock and other materials. These samples are expected to help answer questions about the geographic differences between the moon’s near side and far side.

Although US and Soviet missions have collected samples from the moon’s near side, the Chinese mission is the first to collect samples from the far side.

The near side is visible from Earth, while the far side faces outer space. The far side is known for its mountains and impact craters, in contrast to the relatively flat expanses of the near side.

The probe left Earth on 3 May, and its journey lasted 53 days. During this mission, the probe drilled into the moon’s core and scooped rocks from the surface.

The samples "are expected to answer one of the most fundamental scientific questions in lunar science research: what geologic activity is responsible for the differences between the two sides?" said Zongyu Yue, a geologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In recent years, China has launched multiple successful moon missions, including collecting samples from the moon’s near side with the Chang'e 5 probe.

Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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