According to state media, a Chinese probe carrying samples from the lunar surface successfully orbited a spacecraft to the moon, earning the country first place in another spacecraft.
Sunday’s challenge was part of the ambitious Chang-1 mission to bring back the first lunar sample in four decades – named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess.
The cargo capsule carrying the Chinese national rock and soil rose from the ground on Thursday and docked with the orbit on Sunday morning, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the Chinese National Space Administration as saying.
Xinhua said it was China’s first “anarchy and docking in lunar orbit”.
The journey of the cargo capsule from the lunar surface on Thursday was also the first: the first lifting of a Chinese craft from an extroverted body.
The capsule transferred lunar samples into orbit, which would separate and return to Earth, Xinhua said.
China has been trying for decades to reconcile its achievements with the United States and Russia, and has poured billions upon billions into its military-led space program.
Its space agency had earlier said that “the Chinese flag was hoisted at the bottom of the moon before the lift.”
Scientists hope the samples from Chang-5 will help them learn more about the source of the moon and the volcanic activity of its surface.
If the return journey is successful, China will become only the third country to recover specimens from the moon, following the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and ’70s.
Analyst. Amateur problem solver. Wannabe internet expert. Coffee geek. Tv guru. Award-winning communicator. Food nerd.