Students from the aviation model association of the Harbin Institute of Technology launch a rocket on campus in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, 22 April 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/XINHUA/Xie Jianfei CHINA OUT/MANDATORY CREDIT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Future Chinese mission to collect samples from far side of moon

Beijing, Apr 24 (EFE).- China’s future space mission Chang’e 6 will collect samples from the surface of the far side of the Moon, making it the first mission of its kind, officials from the Chinese space program announced on Monday.

The Chang’e 6, 7 and 8 probes are part of the fourth phase of China’s lunar exploration project, Wu Weiren, the director of the project, told state news agency Xinhua.

Chang’e 7 will be sent to the south pole of the Moon, where it will search for water, while the the model 8 will inspect the mineral and environmental composition of the surface in the same area.

Together, the three probes will form the basic model of a research station of the moon which will be completed by 2028, Wu said, adding that Chinese experts were working hard to eventually establish the International Lunar Research Station in cooperation with other countries and that an international enterprise may be launched once it is operational.

The ILRS a joint project of the Chinese and Russian space agencies.

Wu made the announcements during an event in the eastern city of Hefei, which is currently hosting a space conference.

China’s last lunar probe Chang’e 5 was sent to the Moon in 2020, where it collected samples of the lunar surface weighing 1.731 grams.

The Chang’e program – named after a goddess who, according to Chinese legend lives on the Moon – began with the launch of the first probe in 2007.

China has invested heavily in its space program and achieved milestones like the successful landing of a probe on the Moon’s far side in January 2019, becoming the first country to do so. EFE