China successfully landed a spaceship on the lunar surface on Tuesday to take lunar surface samples, Chinese state media reported.
China launched its Chang’e-5 probe on November 24th. Named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, the mission aims to collect lunar material to help scientists learn more about the origins of the moon.
The mission will attempt to collect 2 kg of samples from a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or the “Ocean of Storms”.
If the mission completes as planned, China would be the third nation to collect lunar samples after the US and the Soviet Union.
The lander that landed on the lunar surface was one of several spacecraft deployed by the Chang’e-5 probe.
When landing, the lander vehicle is supposed to drill into the ground with a robot arm and then transfer its soil and rock samples to an ascending vehicle, which would take off and dock with a rotating module.
The state broadcaster CCTV announced that it would collect samples on the lunar surface over the next two days. The samples would be transferred to a return capsule for the return journey to Earth and land in the Inner Mongolia region of China.
China made its first moon landing in 2013. In January last year, the Chang’e-4 probe landed on the other side of the moon, the first spacecraft of any nation to do so.