China’s Mission to the Moon Returns With Samples to Study

The return capsule of China’s Chang’e-5 probe has come back to Earth, bringing with it the country’s first samples collected from the moon, according to a Xinhua report.

The development marks a successful conclusion of China’s three-step lunar exploration program, which began in 2004, of orbiting, landing and bringing back samples, according to the report.

The capsule is set to be airlifted to Beijing for opening, and the moon samples will be delivered to a research team for analysis and study, the China National Space Administration said.

China will make some of the samples available to scientists in other countries, Pei Zhaoyu, the deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of CNSA, was quoted as saying.

Other samples will be kept by the National Museum of China for public viewing, Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the National Space Administration, said at a media briefing Thursday.

Chang’e-5 touched down on the moon earlier this month after being launched on Nov. 24. The landing took place on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon.

That site was chosen because it has a younger geological age than where samples collected by the U.S. and the Soviet Union were taken more than 40 years ago.

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