China’s Chang’e 5 lands on the moon to collect the 1st fresh lunar samples in decades
By Mike Wall – Space.com Senior Writer
China has apparently landed on the moon again — and this time the country plans to bring home some souvenirs.
Chang’e 5, China’s first-ever sample-return mission, successfully touched down today (Dec. 1), according to state media reports. Details on the landing were not immediately available from the China National Space Administration, but the state-run CGTN news channel announced the landing success in a single-sentence statement.
Chang’e 5’s landing was expected to occur at about 10:13 a.m. EST (1513 GMT) near Mons Rümker, a mountain in the Oceanus Procellarum (“Ocean of Storms”) region of the moon.
Two pieces of the four-module, 18,100-lb. (8,200 kilograms) Chang’e 5 mission hit the gray dirt today — a stationary lander and an ascent vehicle. If all goes according to plan, the lander will spend the next few days collecting about 4.4 lbs. (2 kg) of lunar material, some of it dug from up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) beneath the lunar surface.