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China’s lunar probe returns to Earth with first-ever samples from the far side of the Moon

Four people wearing matching uniforms stand around a large capsule that recently landed on Earth. A Chinese flag stands next to them.
The return capsule of the Chang’e 6 probe lands at the designated landing area on June 25th, 2024, in Inner Mongolia. | Photo by VCG / VCG via Getty Images

The first soil samples ever taken from the far side of the Moon arrived on Earth today. China’s Chang’e 6 spacecraft landed with the precious cargo in Inner Mongolia today at 2:07PM Beijing time, according to state media.

The feat is expected to help scientists better understand the unfamiliar terrain of the Moon’s far side and perhaps shed some light on the early history of the Moon and Earth. It’s also a significant milestone in the escalating global space race to establish a presence on the Moon.

President Xi Jinping congratulated the China National Space Administration, calling it a “landmark achievement in our country’s efforts at becoming a space and technological…

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