China’s Chang’e 5 probe completes lunar sample collection
A Chinese space probe sent to collect material from a previously unexplored part of the moon has completed its mission and is preparing to send the world’s first lunar samples in four decades, Beijing said Thursday.
China has invested billions in its military-led space program, hoping to have a manned space station by 2022 and eventually send humans to the Moon.
the Chang’e 5 The spacecraft, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, landed on the moon on Tuesday and has now completed its collection of lunar rocks and soil, the China National Space Administration said.
The spacecraft was supposed to collect two kilograms (4.5 pounds) of material from an area known as Oceanus Procellarum, or “Ocean of Storms,” a vast plain of lava, according to the scientific journal Nature.
Scientists hope the samples will help them learn about the Moon’s origins, formation and volcanic activity on its surface.
State media said this week that the spacecraft was preparing for “about 48 hours” of tasks on the lunar surface.
If successful, China will be only the third country to have recovered samples from the Moon, after the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.
This is the first such attempt since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976.
The CNSA said Thursday that Chang’e 5 had completed sampling and successfully packed the collected materials into a special container on Wednesday night.
“The scientific detection was carried out as planned,” the space agency said, without providing details.
The samples will be returned to Earth in a capsule scheduled to land in the Inner Mongolia region of northern China in early December, according to the US space agency. POT.