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China is on the path to retrieve the world’s first rock and soil samples only found on the dark lunar hemisphere.

The spacecraft, the Chang’e-6, had no crew onboard but was equipped with a massive amount of tools and its own launcher.

The area where it touched down is called the South Pole-Aitken Basin. No other country has been able to reach this area.

The China National Space Administration confirmed that the Chang’e-6 landed at 6:23 Beijing time.

In a statement, the space agency said the mission “involved many engineering innovations, high risks and great difficulty”.

China is one of the countries in the global rush to the moon and they’re competing against countries like the United States. According to Reuters, the countries hope to exploit lunar minerals to sustain long-term astronaut missions and moon bases within the next decade.

“The payloads carried by the Chang’e-6 lander will work as planned and carry out scientific exploration missions.”

Reuters reports that the side of the moon perpetually facing away from the Earth is dotted with deep and dark craters, making communications and robotic landing operations more challenging.

Image credit: CGTN

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