Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

Moon mission accomplished as China's Chang'e-6 probe returns historic lunar samples to Earth

China

China

China

Moon mission accomplished as China's Chang'e-6 probe returns historic lunar samples to Earth

2024-06-25 18:43 Last Updated At:21:57

China's Chang'e-6 probe has made history after completing its 53-day mission on Tuesday, becoming the first spacecraft to successfully retrieve and return precious samples from the mysterious far side of the Moon and bringing mankind closer to understanding our enigmatic celestial neighbor.

The return capsule touched down at the designated landing site in the Siziwang Banner of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at 14:07 (Beijing Time) Tuesday, with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) declaring the mission a complete success, marking another remarkable achievement in China's space exploration endeavors.

The momentous Chang'e-6 mission was considered one of the most complex and challenging undertakings in China's space exploration efforts to date, as the country attempted to complete a feat never dared before.

Consisting of an orbiter, a returner, a lander and an ascender, the probe was launched from the tropical southern island province of Hainan on May 3, with the mission overcoming numerous obstacles during its various mission stages, including completing the near-moon braking maneuver to enter lunar orbit and seeing the separation of the lander-ascender combination and the orbiter-returner combination, which all went as planned.

Supported by the Queqiao-2 relay satellite -- which was put into position shortly before the mission to aid communication with the 'dark side' of the moon -- the lander-ascender combination landed at the designated lunar landing area in the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin on June 2 and began its pivotal sampling work.

After two days on the lunar surface, the ascender took off from the moon and entered lunar orbit. A further two days later, it completed rendezvous and docking with the orbiter-returner combination and carefully transferred the precious cargo to the return vehicle. The ascender then separated from the combination and later landed on the moon under the guidance of the ground control team, to avoid the discarded craft becoming a piece of space junk.

The orbiter-returner combination then spent 13 days in lunar orbit, awaiting the right window of opportunity to make its return to Earth. After completing two Moon-Earth transfer maneuvers and one orbital correction, the returner separated from the orbiter and began its journey back to Earth, culminating in Tuesday's historic touchdown.

Moon mission accomplished as China's Chang'e-6 probe returns historic lunar samples to Earth

Moon mission accomplished as China's Chang'e-6 probe returns historic lunar samples to Earth

Moon mission accomplished as China's Chang'e-6 probe returns historic lunar samples to Earth

Moon mission accomplished as China's Chang'e-6 probe returns historic lunar samples to Earth

Next Article

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

2024-07-20 07:14 Last Updated At:08:27

China's border ports have been implementing a range of cargo facilitation policies, leading to a surge in cargo throughput, with a nearly 57 percent year-on-year increase in the inspection of transportation vehicles in the first half of 2024.

According to the data recently released by the National Immigration Administration, China's ports inspected about 15.42 million vehicle, vessel, and train trips in the first six months of this year, a 56.9 percent jump from the same period last year.

The border ports have rolled out a series of measures to streamline customs clearance for cargo. At major land ports, fast lanes have been set up for the rapid release of critical supplies. At major seaports, online declaration has been enabled for border inspection boarding. In international shipping, arriving vessels can have much faster departures thanks to the efficient inspections.

The combined sea-rail transport model, utilizing maritime routes and the China-Europe freight train service, has made the port of Lianyungang in east China's Jiangsu Province one of the most convenient and economical gateways to the sea. It handles more than 80 percent of Kazakhstan's transit cargo to China.

At the port, containers carrying with auto parts, home appliances, and other products are offloaded, hoisted onto trucks, and then loaded onto China-Europe freight trains bound for destinations like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

"From unloading to boarding the freight train, the entire process can now be completed in as little as eight minutes. These containers are expected to reach the border ports within six days, greatly reducing transportation time and cost," said a logistics company employee.

The Youyi Pass in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, also known as Friendship Pass, on the China-Vietnam border is an important cross-national trade channel. To enhance the clearance efficiency of imported fruits, the port has established "durian-only" channels and green channels for agricultural products, as well as an intelligent inspection assistance system. A Chinese cargo truck can now clear customs in just 15 seconds.

As the country's largest land port for fruit imports and exports, the Youyi Pass saw fruit imports worth 23.92 billion yuan (about 3.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023, a 262.9-percent surge year on year.

Pattama Narmwong, chairman of the Thai Mangosteen Association, noted that the greatly improved clearance efficiency has considerably cut down on transportation time and costs, supporting the burgeoning development of fruit trade between China and Southeast Asian nations.

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

Recommended Articles