China's Chang'e-6 probe lifts off from far side of moon

By Liz Lee and Eduardo Baptista

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s Chang’e-6 probe has lifted off from the far side of the moon, starting its journey back towards Earth, state media Xinhua announced on Tuesday.

The probe’s successful departure from the moon means China is closer to becoming the first country to return samples from the far side of the moon, which permanently faces away from Earth.

The probe, which departed the moon at 7:38 am local time (2338 GMT) successfully completed its sample collection from June 2-3.

Chang’e-6 displayed China’s national flag for the first time on the far side of moon after sample acquisition, Beijing Daily said.

The return of the lunar samples to Earth is being followed by scientists around the world, who hope the soil collected by the Chang’e-6 can help answer questions such as the origins of the solar system.

(Reporting by Liz Lee, Ryan Woo and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Gerry Doyle)

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