BANGKOK (AP) — China’s Chang’e 6 probe has returned on Earth 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.

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 visible to the naked eye from Earth, and the far side is not visible from Earth.

The far side of the moon is also known to have mountains and impact craters, contrasting with the relatively flat expanses visible on the near side.

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