It has become known that China intends to continue to actively explore the moon in the coming years. In particular, it is planned to implement the mission “Chang’e-6”, which will be delivered to Earth soil samples from the back side of the moon.
Last year, China carried out the mission “Chang’e-5,” thanks to which for the first time in the last few decades, lunar soil was delivered to our planet. The next step in this program will be more complicated, as scientists intend to get soil samples from the South Pole-Aitken basin, which is the largest lunar crater located on the back side of the satellite.
Preparations are already underway for the Chang’e-6 probe, which will collect samples and return to Earth in 2024. According to available data, the space probe will consist of an orbiter, a landing module, a moonwalker and a descent capsule. As for the South Pole-Aitken basin, it is a huge impact crater with a diameter of about 2500 km, occupying almost a quarter of the reverse side of the moon. Scientists believe that the study of soil from the ancient crater will provide important information about the history of the Moon and the solar system.
The Chinese landing module Chang’e-4, together with the Yutu-2 moon rover, landed on the back side of our planet’s satellite in 2019. Currently, the rover continues to operate, transmitting data to scientists from work done in the ancient Von Karman crater in the southern hemisphere of the back side of the moon. The opportunity to study soil samples from the back side of the Moon will provide important information about the history of the satellite’s formation and much more. The exact landing site of Chang’e 6 has not yet been announced.
Chang’e-6 will also carry equipment from partners in other countries. France will provide the DORN instrument to study radon gas and how it is released from the lunar regolith. Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) will provide a laser retroreflector, a tool for reflecting light back to its source. With its help, scientists will be able to measure the time of the passage of light to the source of radiation and convert these data into distance. In addition, the structure will include a Russian-Chinese device designed to search for water ice on the lunar surface. The device, created by scientists from Sweden and designed to detect negative ions, will be another Chang’e-6 research tool.