China Launches Chang'e-6 Mission with French Device to Study Moon

China launched the Chang'e-6 mission on May 3, carrying a French device to study the moon's atmosphere and soil. The mission aims to collect up to 2,000 grams of lunar samples from the far side of the moon during its 53-day journey.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
China Launches Chang'e-6 Mission with French Device to Study Moon

China Launches Chang'e-6 Mission with French Device to Study Moon

China launched itsChang'e-6 missionon May 3, carrying a French device called DORN (Detection of Outgassing RadoN) to study the moon's atmosphere and soil. The mission, launched on a 57-meter-tall Long March 5 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, aims to collect up to 2,000 grams of lunar samples from the far side of the moon during its 53-day journey.

Why this matters: This collaboration between China and European countries marks a significant step in international cooperation in space exploration, paving the way for future joint missions and discoveries. The insights gained from the lunar samples could also have implications for our understanding of the early solar system and the formation of the Earth-Moon system.

The Chang'e-6 mission consists of a stack of four spacecraft, including an orbiter, lander, ascent vehicle, and reentry capsule. The lander will touch down on the lunar surface, equipped with the DORN instrument provided by France to detect radon outgassing from the lunar crust. DORN is one of several international scientific payloads on board, alongside instruments from Sweden, Italy, and a Pakistani cubesat.

Once on the moon, the lander will collect lunar samples using a drill and scoop, which will be loaded into the ascent vehicle and launched back into lunar orbit for a rendezvous with the orbiter. The mission entered lunar orbit with the help of the Queqiao-2 communications relay satellite, launched in March to facilitate communications between Earth and the lunar far side.

The lunar samples collected by Chang'e-6 could provide valuable insights into the lunar dichotomy, the history of the Earth-Moon system, and the early solar system. Studying mare basalts and exotic impact-related materials like impact breccias is expected to be particularly revealing. The mission reflects China's efforts to boost international cooperation in space exploration, with collaborations from France, Sweden, Italy, and Pakistan.

China plans to follow up the Chang'e-6 mission with two more missions to the moon's south pole, Chang'e-7 in 2026 and Chang'e-8 around 2028, as part of its broader lunar goals to establish a permanent lunar base. The successful launch of Chang'e-6 marks another significant milestone in China's ambitious lunar exploration program, paving the way for future missions and international collaborations in the study of Earth's celestial neighbor.

Key Takeaways

  • China launched Chang'e-6 mission to study moon's atmosphere and soil.
  • Mission aims to collect 2,000g of lunar samples from far side of moon.
  • French device DORN on board to detect radon outgassing from lunar crust.
  • Mission marks significant step in international cooperation in space exploration.
  • China plans to follow up with Chang'e-7 and Chang'e-8 missions to moon's south pole.