“Unprecedented Lunar Discovery: Pakistan’s Surprising Role in Moon Exploration Revealed!”
China’s Chang’e 6 mission, which is planned to collect samples from the unexplored far side of the Moon, will also carry a payload from Pakistan, according to an official government statement released on Friday.
The Chang’e 6 mission, an upcoming lunar expedition by China scheduled for next year, has confirmed its inclusion of Pakistan’s ICUBE-Q cubesat satellite after a series of selections and discussions. The mission’s lander will host scientific instruments from France, Italy, and the European Space Agency, while a Pakistani payload will be placed on the orbiter.
The primary objective of the Chang’e 6 mission is to retrieve samples from the Moon’s far side. The Chang’e 6 spacecraft comprises four components: an orbiter, lander, ascender, and re-entry module.
Hu Hao, a senior planner involved in the Chang’e 6 mission, stated that if all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will make a controlled landing in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. There, it will collect dust and rock samples. This mission holds the potential to be the first-ever instance of gathering samples from the far side of the Moon, which could significantly advance our understanding of this lunar region and allow scientists to analyze the composition of these samples to expand our knowledge of the Moon.
India’s Chandrayaan 3 mission made history by achieving a soft landing near the lunar south pole. Both its Pragyan rover and China’s Chang’e 4 mission’s rover, situated on the far side, actively roved on the lunar surface before the Indian Space Research Organisation placed them in sleep mode after their planned 10 Earth days of lunar exploration. The Indian space agency is making efforts to re-establish contact with the rover but has not yet succeeded.
Regarding foreign contributions, the Chang’e 6 mission will carry a total of 10 kilograms of foreign equipment on its lander and orbiter, including scientific instruments from France, Italy, and the European Space Agency, along with the Pakistani payload on the orbiter. To date, the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China have successfully retrieved lunar samples, but this mission marks the first attempt to obtain samples from the Moon’s far side.