For the first time in almost 45 years, a Chinese study is orbiting the moon in preparation for lunar surface samples to return to Earth.
The climbing block of the Chang 5 spacecraft was replaced with a container containing 2kg samples after being docked with the robotic spacecraft on Sunday, after which it was cut free.
The orbit and re-entry vehicle will still be waiting for the moon for a short time window for a week, returning about 383,000 km of travel to Earth in about three days.
Before the re-entry vehicle splits and floats on parachutes, it first “bounces” the Earth’s atmosphere, landing on the wide steps of inner Mongolia, where China’s Shenzhou crew spacecraft have also made their landings.
If successful, it will make China the third country to bring lunar rocks to Earth after the United States and the former Soviet Union.
They were the first new models of the lunar surface obtained by scientists after the 1976 Luna 24 study of the Soviet Union.
The Chinese National Space Agency also released a photo of the orbit of Chang 5 as it exploded from the lunar surface on Friday and went behind a lander block flying the Chinese flag. Ascending, sandals of the earth seen in the background.
Chang 5 December 1 near the moon storm sea near an image called Mons rumgar, which is believed to be the site of ancient volcanic activity.
Rocks and other debris were obtained by drilling into the lunar crust and scooping directly from the surface.
They are thought to be billions of years younger than they were before, and may provide insights into the history of the Moon and other bodies in our solar system.
The Lunar Research Project has set up specialized laboratories to analyze samples for age and composition.
Of the hundreds of kilograms of rocks, sand, dust and other specimens obtained by the United States and the former Soviet Union, China is expected to share some of them with other countries.