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China’s Chang’e-6 probe lifts off with samples from moon’s far side in historic first kraken тор браузерChina’s Chang’e-6 lunar probe departed from the far side of the moon on Tuesday, moving a step closer to completing an ambitious mission that underlines the country’s rise as a space superpower.In a symbolic moment before takeoff, China also reportedly became the first country to display its national flag on the moon’s far side, which permanently faces away from Earth.The probe, carrying the first lunar rocks ever collected from the far side of the moon, took off and entered lunar orbit early Tuesday Beijing time, following successful sample collection over the previous two days, according to a statement from the China National Space Administration (CNSA).Its return journey to Earth is estimated to take about three weeks, with a landing expected in China’s Inner Mongolia region around June 25.The successful return of the samples would give China a head start in harnessing the strategic and scientific benefits of expanded lunar exploration – an increasingly competitive field that has contributed to what NASA chief Bill Nelson calls a new “space race.”This is the second time China has collected samples from the moon, after the Chang’e-5 brought back rocks from the near side in 2020.Earlier this year, Nelson appeared to acknowledge China’s pace – and concerns about its intentions – were driving the American urgency to return to the moon, decades after its Apollo-crewed missions.A photo posted by CNSA Tuesday and trending on China’s X-like Weibo platform shows the drilled surface in a shape resembling the Chinese character “zhong,” or “middle” in English – the first character in the Chinese word for “China.”The Chang’e-6 probe withstood “the test of high temperatures” and collected the samples by drilling into the moon’s surface and scooping the soil and rocks up with a mechanical arm, CNSA said.After collecting the specimens, Chang’e-6 extended a robotic arm to raise the Chinese flag, according to an animation released by CNSA.

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