BFF-42 China’s lunar probe lands on Moon: Xinhua

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CHINA-SPACE

China’s lunar probe lands on Moon: Xinhua

BEIJING, Dec 1, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – An unmanned Chinese spacecraft
landed on the Moon Tuesday, state media reported, the latest milestone
in a mission to collect samples from the lunar surface.

The Chang’e-5 spacecraft “landed on the near side of the moon late
Tuesday,” the Xinhua report said, citing the China National Space
Administration.

China has poured billions into its military-run space programme,
with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022 and of eventually
sending humans to the Moon.

The mission’s goal is to shovel up lunar rocks and soil to help
scientists learn about the Moon’s origins, formation and volcanic
activity on its surface.

If successful, China will be only the third country to have
retrieved samples from the Moon, following the United States and the
Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Chinese probe is to collect two kilogrammes (4.5 pounds) of
surface material in a previously unexplored area known as Oceanus
Procellarum — or “Ocean of Storms” — which consist of a vast lava
plain, according to the science journal Nature.

It is expected to collect material during one lunar day —
equivalent to around 14 Earth days.

The samples will then be returned to Earth in a capsule programmed
to land in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region in early December,
according to US space agency NASA.

BSS/AFP/MRU/2349hrs