China set to collect samples from moon’s far side, a world first

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China on Friday embarked on one of its most ambitious space missions yet: the launch of a probe to retrieve samples from the far side of the moon and bring them back to Earth within two months.

If successful, it would be a first, for any country.

Beijing has ambitions to become a space power and scientific force, laying out plans to land Chinese astronauts on the lunar surface by 2030 and set up a base at the moon’s south pole. This has created a new frontier in its broad rivalry with the United States, which also includes computer chips and solar panels.

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