China’s next moon probe will carry Swedish gear

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, visitors view a simulated rocket launch on display at an exhibition featuring space science and achievement during the China Space Conference in Nanjing in east China’s Jiangsu province on Saturday, April 24, 2021. (Ji Chunpeng/Xinhua via AP)

According to reports from the Xinhua News Agency, China will launch its next robot lunar lander in 2024, and it will carry equipment from Sweden as well as France, Russia, and Italy.

The Chang’e landers are part of Chinese space exploration efforts and in December, the previous moon probe, Chang’e 5, returned lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

At the China Space Conference, Saturday in the eastern city of Nanjing, Hu Hao, the program’s chief designer said that China’s Chang’e 6 is planned to land near the lunar south pole and collect samples for return to Earth. He was quoted saying, “Chang’e 6 is to “collect lunar samples automatically for comprehensive analysis and research,” and explained that lander is expected to carry instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, France, Italy, and Russia. Hu Hao gave no further details of what they will do.

The Chang’e program also includes a probe that is preparing to land a robot rover on the planet Mars. A crewed orbital station, landing a human on the moon and retrieving soil from an asteroid is also amongst the plans.

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