Chinese Officials in Beijing have confirmed that the Chang’e 5 lander has lifted off of the Moon’s surface and is making its way back to Earth, with bits of the Moon’s surface.
The lander is the third spacecraft to ever successfully land on the Moon and is now the first time a Chinese spacecraft has ever taken off again after making its way onto the surface.
While on the Moon, the lander’s module drilled into the surface to collect samples of our closest celestial body’s rock. These were then placed in a canister on the module and are now on their way back to Earth for study. It collected about 2 kilograms of the material during the drill.
The last time a spacecraft returned with samples was in the 1970s by a Soviet Union mission.
In video: The first automatic sampling on the moon conducted by Chang’e-5 probe. The lander-ascender combination of the spacecraft is currently collecting lunar soil samples as planned. It completed the drilling, sampling and sealing of lunar soil at 4:53 a.m. BJT, Wed. pic.twitter.com/P4BKAQJ3KT
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) December 2, 2020
These major feats represent how far China has come in its space programme. The country plan to land the spacecraft in Mongolia, should all go according to plan.
In addition to collecting moon dust and rock, the lander also photographed the surface around the landing site and unfurled the Chinese flag.
Picture: People’s China Daily/ Twitter