China launches probe to the other side of the moon

Chinese space agency officials say they have successfully launched an unmanned probe to collect samples from the far side of the moon.

The announcement came on Friday, shortly after Chang’e-6 launched from a site on the southern island of Hainan.

The spacecraft is designed to bring back rocks and other samples.

If successful, the mission will be the first of its kind. But experts say there are significant challenges.

Continuous direct communication with the lunar probe is impossible because radio waves from Earth do not reach the far side of the moon.

Chinese officials say they plan to collect about two kilograms of samples and return the probe to Earth 53 days after launch.

Space exploration is becoming increasingly competitive, with more and more countries joining a field that has been led by the United States for years.