A Chinese Lunar Probe Returns to Earth With the World's First Samples from the Far Side of the Moon

China’s Chang’e-6 probe after it landed on the surface of the moon on June 4. China National Space Administration / Xinhua / AP
China’s Chang’e-6 probe after it landed on the surface of the moon on June 4. China National Space Administration / Xinhua / AP
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A Chinese Lunar Probe Returns to Earth With the World's First Samples from the Far Side of the Moon

China’s Chang’e-6 probe after it landed on the surface of the moon on June 4. China National Space Administration / Xinhua / AP
China’s Chang’e-6 probe after it landed on the surface of the moon on June 4. China National Space Administration / Xinhua / AP

China's Chang'e 6 probe returned to Earth on Tuesday with rock and soil samples from the little-explored far side of the moon in a global first.
The probe landed in northern China on Tuesday afternoon in the Inner Mongolian region, The Associated Press said.
“I now declare that the Chang’e 6 Lunar Exploration Mission achieved complete success," Zhang Kejian, Director of the China National Space Administration said shortly in a televised news conference after the landing.
Chinese scientists anticipate the returned samples will include 2.5 million-year-old volcanic rock and other material that scientists hope will answer questions about geographic differences on the moon's two sides.
The near side is what is seen from Earth, and the far side faces outer space. The far side is also known to have mountains and impact craters, contrasting with the relatively flat expanses visible on the near side.
While past US and Soviet missions have collected samples from the moon's near side, the Chinese mission was the first that has collected samples from the far side.
The moon program is part of a growing rivalry with the US — still the leader in space exploration — and others, including Japan and India. China has put its own space station in orbit and regularly sends crews there.
China's leader Xi Jinping sent a message of congratulations to the Chang'e team, saying that it was a “landmark achievement in our country's efforts at becoming a space and technological power.”
The probe left earth on May 3, and its journey lasted 53 days. The probe has drilled into the core and scooped rocks from the surface.
The samples “are expected to answer one of the most fundamental scientific questions in lunar science research: what geologic activity is responsible for the differences between the two sides?” said Zongyu Yue, a geologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in a statement issued in the Innovation Monday, a journal published in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
China in recent years has launched multiple successful missions to the moon, collecting samples from the moon’s near side with the Chang’e 5 probe previously.
They are also hoping that the probe will return with material that bears traces of meteorite strikes from the moon’s past. With the successful reentry of the probe, scientists will begin studying the samples.



Saudi Team Wins 6 Awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad in UK

Saudi Team Wins 6 Awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad in UK
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Saudi Team Wins 6 Awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad in UK

Saudi Team Wins 6 Awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad in UK

Under the auspices of the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity "Mawhiba" and the Ministry of Education, the Saudi mathematics team won six awards at the 65th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) 2024 held in the UK from July 15 to 21.

The event featured 603 talented students from 104 countries, with the Saudi team securing 1 silver medal, 4 bronze medals, and 1 certificate of appreciation.

Hadi Al-Aithan from the Al-Ahsa education department won the silver medal, while Youssef Bakheet (Yanbu education department), Mohammed Rabie (Madinah education department), Muath Al-Qahtani (Al-Sharqiyah education department), and Ahmed Al-Shehri (Riyadh education department) received bronze medals.

Mohammad Al-Ghamdi from the Al-Sharqiyah education department was honored with a certificate of appreciation.

Secretary-General of Mawhiba Amal Al-Hazzaa extended her congratulations to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, for this remarkable national achievement.

She also congratulated the students, their families, schools, teachers, and education departments for their outstanding accomplishment and wished them continued success.

Al-Hazzaa described this triumph in such a prestigious competition as a moment of immense pride for the entire nation.

Furthermore, she underlined her gratitude to Minister of Education Youssef Al-Benyan for his unwavering support of Mawhiba and the exceptionally talented students in public education.

She commended the minister's dedication in providing necessary resources and opportunities, which have contributed to the fruitful partnership between the ministry and Mawhiba.

Furthermore, she highlighted Al-Benyan’s efforts to empower Saudi talents and propel them to greater heights of achievement through this collaboration.

Saudi Arabia's participation in the IMO 2024 is part of the Mawhiba International Olympiad program, which operates under a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education. The program is one of 20 different initiatives offered annually by Mawhiba and the ministry, providing advanced curricula and enriching programs.

The initiatives offer a multi-phase journey for gifted students, exploring, boosting, and empowering their ambitions, in collaboration with local and international partners.

Students enrolled in the Mawhiba International Olympiad program undergo rigorous training, over 1,000 hours a year, in cooperation with the ministry. The training, focused on their chosen scientific track, is delivered under the guidance of local trainers and international Olympiad experts.

With this latest achievement, Saudi Arabia's tally of IMO awards has risen to 77, including 12 silver medals, 46 bronze medals, and 19 certificates of appreciation.