China is going to launch a mission to the far side of the moon

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The launch of the uncrewed Chang’e-6 is expected sometime between 8.30am GMT and 11am GMT and the mission – if successful – would go far to bolster China’s ambitions to put a man on the moon by 2030.
However the mission has also drawn concern from China’s major rival, the US, over Beijing’s geopolitical intentions amid what the head of Nasa has called a new “space race”.
Since the first Chang’e mission in 2007, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, China has made leaps forward in its lunar exploration, narrowing the technological chasm with the United States and Russia.
Experts say the samples which could answer questions about a significant period of solar system activity billions of years ago.
That mission in 2020 confirmed for the first time that China could safely return an uncrewed spacecraft to Earth from the lunar surface.
China’s space program is central to the government’s overall national strategy, and is widely celebrated within the country as a demonstration of the nation’s technological advancement.
Beijing’s polar plans have worried Nasa, whose administrator, Bill Nelson, has repeatedly warned that China would claim any water resources as its own.
Nelson has also warned of China bolstering its space capabilities by using civilian programs to mask military objectives, cautioning that Washington must remain vigilant.

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China wants to land a person on the moon by 2030, and on Friday it will attempt the first of three missions to the far side of the moon that are scheduled over the next few years.

The unmanned Chang’e-6 is scheduled to launch between 8:30 and 11:00 am GMT, and a successful mission would significantly support China’s goal of landing a man on the moon by 2030.

Beijing’s geopolitical intentions in the context of what the head of NASA has described as a new “space race” have raised concerns about the mission from the US, China’s main adversary.

China has closed the technological gap with the US and Russia by making significant advancements in lunar exploration since the launch of the first Chang’e mission in 2007, which was named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess.

Chang’e-6’s 53-day mission, which includes a previously untried ascent from the moon’s “hidden” side on its way home, is dependent on a recently launched relay satellite orbiting the moon because it has no direct line of sight with Earth.

In an attempt to meet Beijing’s goal of landing humans on the moon by 2030, China plans to begin exploring the south pole for water and constructing a basic outpost with Russia in 2026 and 2028, respectively, using the same relay satellite.

The Chang’e-6’s mission includes sampling the largest and oldest impact crater on the moon, Aitken Basin, which is located on the side that faces Earth all the time. Suggested by experts, the samples may provide insights into a major solar system active period billions of years ago.

Like it did with the moon rocks gathered during the 5th Chang’e mission, which was the first mission of its kind since the US Apollo missions, the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) is anticipated to distribute the samples among nations should the mission be successful.

China could safely return an unmanned spacecraft to Earth from the lunar surface was confirmed for the first time by that mission in 2020.

As a key component of the government’s broader national strategy, China’s space program is widely praised in the nation as an example of its technological prowess.

NASA’s administrator, Bill Nelson, has expressed concern about Beijing’s polar plans and has warned on multiple occasions that China would appropriate any water resources for itself. Beijing says it is still dedicated to working with other countries to create a “shared” future.

In addition, Nelson has alerted Washington to China’s efforts to strengthen its space capabilities by disguising its military goals with civilian initiatives.

This story was enhanced by Reuters.

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