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China approves new space missions to the far side of the Moon

Updated Oct 19th, 2022 4:28PM EDT
Image: NASA

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China’s newest Moon mission has been given the green light. The new mission, titled Chang’e 6, will target the far side of our planet’s lunar satellite. The China National Space Administration announced the mission on September 10, and said the newest spacecraft is almost complete.

China has also made quite a bit of progress on its Moon missions. The nation began its first foray into exploring the lunar surface back in 2004. Since then, it has sent orbiters, a lander, and a rover to Earth’s satellite. China has already landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, too, so focusing on exploring that part of the lunar surface isn’t that far out of the question for the nation.

Ultimately, China says that its goal with these missions is to create a foundation for a Chinese Moon base. Like other space agencies, China wants to put humans back on the Moon so that they can study the lunar surface and possibly even use it as a launching point for more stellar exploration missions. This new Chinese Moon mission is yet another step towards that goal.

lunar surface
Image captured by China’s Chang’e 5 lunar lander. Image source: CNSA

After Chang’e 6 launches, China says it will begin work on its next mission and spacecraft. That spacecraft, Chang’e 7, will focus on studying the Moon’s south pole. A recently completed Chinese Moon mission showcased an abundance of helium-3 in Moon crystals. Helium-3 is an important fuel source for nuclear fusion, so China is no doubt looking for more samples of that compound.`

China will also most likely search for signs of water on the lunar surface, something else that scientists have been hoping to discover. So far, China’s National Space Administration has yet to provide a timeline for the upcoming Chinese Moon missions. However, we should expect more information to become available as construction on the Chang’e 6 nears completion.

China also plans to search for exoplanets in the future, too.

Related coverage: Startling discovery shows that the Moon is drifting away from Earth.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.