IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


19th January, 2024 Science and Technology


Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has announced that the Chang’e 6 sample return mission is on track to land on the surface of the Moon in the first half of 2024.


  • Chang'e 6, China's upcoming lunar exploration mission scheduled for launch in mid 2024, aims to conduct the country's second lunar sample return mission, focusing on the lunar far side.
  • It follows the incremental phases of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, seeking to achieve technological advancements in lunar exploration.

Phases of Chinese Lunar Exploration Program

  • Lunar Orbit (Chang'e 1 & 2): Completed in 2007 and 2010.
  • Landing and Roving (Chang'e 3 & 4): Achieved in 2013 and 2019.
  • Sample Collection (Chang'e 5 & 6): Chang'e 5 completed in 2020; Chang'e 6 targets the lunar far side.
  • Robotic Research Station: Planned for the Moon's south pole, supporting crewed lunar landings by the 2030s.

Chang'e 6 Mission Details

  • Landing Site: Targets the southern portion of the Apollo crater in the lunar far side.
  • Objective: Collect lunar far-side material, including soil, rocks, and subsurface samples, potentially containing lunar mantle material from the SPA impact basin.
  • Mission Architecture: Built as a backup of Chang'e 5, comprising a lander, ascent vehicle, orbiter, and sample-return capsule.
  • Sample Collection: Lander to collect up to 2 kg of samples 2 meters below the surface, then transfer to the ascent vehicle.
  • Sample Return: Ascent vehicle autonomously rendezvous with the orbiter, where samples are transferred to a sample-return capsule for Earth delivery.

International Collaboration

  • Payloads: Opened for international proposals; four partners selected for payloads, including French (DORN), Italian (INRRI), Swedish (NILS), and Pakistani (ICECUBE-Q) instruments.

Launch Details

  • Expected Launch Date: May 2024.
  • Launch Vehicle: Long March 5 rocket from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, Hainan Island.


Chang'e 6 represents China's ambitious exploration of the lunar far side, aiming to expand scientific knowledge and pave the way for future crewed lunar missions and research stations.


Q. Consider the following statements regarding the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program:

1.Chang'e 6, scheduled for launch in May 2024, represents China's second lunar sample return mission.

2.The third phase of the program involves the collection of lunar samples and their return to Earth.

3.Chang'e 6 mission aims to collect samples from the lunar near side.

Which of the statements is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) 1 and 2

d) 1 and 3

Answer: c)