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Where should Chang’e-6 collect samples on the farside of the Moon?

The Chang’e-6 mission plans to return geological samples from the farside of the Moon by 2025. The spacecraft will land in the four-billion-year-old Apollo crater within the South Pole–Aitken basin: three candidate sites within the crater have been identified and their scientific potential for sample collection has been explored.

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Fig. 1: The Chang’e-6 landing site on the farside of the Moon.


  1. Li, Q.-L. et al. Two-billion-year-old volcanism on the Moon from Chang’e-5 basalts. Nature 600, 54–58 (2021). This article presents the geologic age of the lunar sample returned by Chang’e-5.

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  2. Liu, J. et al. Landing site selection and overview of China’s lunar landing missions. Space Sci. Rev. 217, 6 (2021). A review article that sets out the science objectives of Chang’e-5 mission, which are similar to those of Chang’e-6.

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  3. Moriarty, D. P. & Pieters, C. M. The character of South Pole–Aitken basin: patterns of surface and subsurface composition. J. Geophys. Res. Planets 123, 729–747 (2018). This article gives information about the composition of materials around the South Pole–Aitken basin.

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This is a summary of: Zeng, X. et al. Landing site of the Chang’e-6 lunar farside sample return mission from the Apollo basin. Nat. Astron. (2023).

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Where should Chang’e-6 collect samples on the farside of the Moon?. Nat Astron 7, 1158–1159 (2023).

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