The moon matters to China

China’s Chang’e-6 moon mission was launched on 3 May. It reached lunar orbit a few days later and began waiting for sunrise over its landing site on the moon’s far side. Chang’e-6 is named after the Chinese goddess of the moon and it will land on Sunday in a crater called Apollo – an ancient double-ringed walled plain caused by an asteroid smashing into the young moon. Apollo has been heavily damaged by subsequent impacts and in many places covered with lava flows and sprinkled with particles from newer impacts. It is as Buzz Aldrin said, a magnificent desolation. It is a region of great geological significance, since it contains