China's lunar sampler lands in Mongolia with Moon dust onboard
China's lunar sampler lands in Mongolia with Moon dust onboard
The rest of the Chang 5 mission moves to Earth the color green and the image of the mission’s previous path around the moon red. Credit CNSA
17 December, 2020, 12:40
That has prevented China from taking part in the International Space Station, something it has sought to compensate for with the launching of an experimental space station and plans to complete a permanent orbiting outpost within the next two years.
China National Space Administration said in a social media post that the return capsule landed in northern China on Wednesday in the Inner Mongolia region after separating from the rest of the spacecraft and floating down on parachutes. This is the first delivery from the Moon since 1976, when the Soviet Union's robotic Luna 24 probe brought back lunar samples.
The Chang'e-5 lunar probe was launched from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on November 24.
The successful landing marks the first time in over 40 years that rocks from the moon were brought back to the green planet.
As with the 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of lunar samples brought back by USA astronauts from 1969 to 1972, they will be analyzed for age and composition and are expected to be shared with other countries.
On behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission (CMC), Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the CMC, extended warm congratulations and honest greetings to all members who participated in the Chang'e-5 mission in a congratulatory message.
The capsule will be airlifted to Beijing for opening, and the Moon samples will be delivered to a research team for analysis and study, the space agency said.
China has spent billions of dollars on its military-run space programme in an effort to catch up with the achievements of the United States and Russian Federation. The first being the United States of America in the 1960's and the Soviet Union in the 1970's.
Beyond the technical achievement, Chang'e-5's lunar samples could shed new light on the latter phases of lunar geology and the evolution of the Earth-Moon system.
Image: In this China National Space Administration (CNSA) photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a simulated image of the ascender of Chang'e-5 spacecraft blasting off from the lunar surface at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) in Beijing on December 3, 2020.
The probe comprised separate craft to get to the Moon, land on it and collect the samples, get back up and then return the rocks and soil to Earth. The returner is expected to land at the Siziwang Banner in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The spacecraft entered Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of around 120km (75 miles).
The capsule landed smoothly in the predetermined area and the search team recovered it, the report said.
Thomas Zurbuchen, a top official at NASA's science mission directorate, congratulated China on the safe return of the capsule. The material it gathered is likely to provide new information about the moon's past and history of volcanic activity. The probe was launched back in December 2018 and since then, Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has been giving regular updates about the moon and its surface.
Chinese scientists are already drawing up plans for future lunar exploration, said Pei - including a project to construct a scientific research station on the moon.
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