China’s lunar-sampling robot has landed on the Moon

01 Décembre, 2020, 22:07 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Space workers monitor the status of Chang'e 5 at a control center in Beijing on Tuesday

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced late on Tuesday night that the Chang'e-5 spacecraft had successfully and safely touched down at its intended landing site north of Mons Rümker in the Oceanus Procellarum, on the near side of the moon. The probe will return about 2 kilograms of samples from the lunar soil by launching a container into lunar orbit for the orbiter-returner spacecraft to deliver to Earth.

Launched on November 24, Chang'e-5 is one of the most complicated and challenging missions in China's aerospace history, as well as the world's first moon-sample mission for more than 40 years.

If the mission is completed as planned, it would make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, joining the United States and the Soviet Union.

If it succeeds, it will be the first time scientists have obtained fresh samples of lunar rocks since a Soviet probe in the 1970s.

The Chang'e 5 flight is China's third successful lunar landing.

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Both the United States and the Soviet Union collected Moon material throughout the Space Race in the 1960s and '70s, and USA scientists are still studying these samples today.

The orbiter reentry capsule combination will continue traveling in a lunar orbit at an average altitude of around 200 kilometers above the moon, while the lander-ascender combination will prepare to conduct a soft-landing on the lunar surface, according to the statement. It also launched a crewed space station.

Chinese space officials have said they hope eventually to land a human on the moon, but no time line or other details have been announced.

China, along with neighbours Japan and India, also has joined the growing race to explore Mars.

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