Takeoff from the far side of the Moon: Chinese probe took a sample of lunar soil and headed towards Earth

The Chinese Chang’e-6 spacecraft successfully took a soil sample from the far side of the Moon and took off. In the near future, it will dock with a service module in lunar orbit, which will then head to Earth. 

Chang’e-6 became only the second spacecraft in history to land on the far side of the moon. It happened on June 2nd. Its landing site was the 500-kilometer Apollo crater, which in turn is part of the South Pole-Aitken Basin, the largest confirmed impact structure on the Moon. 

After the moon landing, Chang’e-6 took a panorama of the surrounding area, unfurled the Chinese flag and carried out a series of measurements using scientific instruments installed on it. In addition, it released a micro-rover, which then photographed the landing platform.

Chang’e-6 is on the far side of the moon. Source: CNSA

But still, the main task of Chang’e-6 was to collect a sample of lunar soil. This operation was successful, which made it possible to proceed to the next stage of the mission to return the collected samples to Earth.

A picture of the far side of the moon taken during the landing of Chang’e-6. Source: CNSA

On June 4, the Chang’e-6 take-off module left the far side of the Moon and entered lunar orbit. The moment of its launch was recorded using a camera on the landing platform. In the near future, the Chang ‘e-6 take-off module will dock with the service module in orbit and transfer samples to it. After that, the latter will set a course for Earth. The sample capsule is scheduled to land on June 25.