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A Chinese The lunar capsule has returned to Earth with the first fresh samples of rock and debris from Moon in more than 40 years.

The Chang’e 5 probe capsule landed in the Siziwang district of the Inner Mongolia region, state media reported.

The capsule previously detached from its orbiter module and bounced off Earth’s atmosphere to reduce its speed before passing by and parachuting to the ground.

The capsule landed in snow-covered grasslands in Mongolia on Thursday.
The capsule landed in snow-covered grasslands in Mongolia on Thursday. (China Global Television Network)

Two of the four modules of the Chang’e 5 landed on the moon on December 1 and collected about 2 kilograms of samples by pulling them from the surface and drilling two meters into the lunar crust.

The samples were deposited in a sealed container which was carried back to the return module in a lift vehicle.

The successful mission was the latest development for China’s increasingly ambitious space program that includes a robotic mission to Mars and plans for a permanent orbiting space station.

Recovery teams had prepared helicopters and all-terrain vehicles to focus on the signals emitted by the lunar spacecraft and locate it in the darkness that envelops the vast snow-covered region in the far north of China, long used as a landing site for China’s Shenzhou manned spacecraft. .

The return of the spacecraft marked the first time scientists have obtained fresh samples of lunar rocks from the former Soviet Union’s Luna 24 robot probe in 1976.

The newly collected rocks are believed to be billions of years younger than those previously obtained by the US and the former Soviet Union, offering new insights into the history of the moon and other bodies in the solar system.

They come from a part of the moon known as Oceanus Procellarum, or Ocean of Storms, near a site called Mons Rumker that was believed to be volcanic in ancient times.

As with the 382 kg of lunar samples brought in by American astronauts from 1969 to 1972, they will be analyzed by age and composition and expected to be shared with other countries.

The age of the samples will help fill a gap in knowledge about the moon’s history between roughly 1 billion and 3 billion years ago, Brad Jolliff, director of the McDonnell Center for Space Sciences at the University of Washington in the city American from St. Louis said in an email.

They can also provide clues to the availability of economically useful resources on the moon, such as concentrated hydrogen and oxygen, Jolliff said.

The new specimens are expected to provide a new perspective on the geology and early history of the moon.
The new specimens are expected to provide a new perspective on the geology and early history of the moon. (CLEP)

“These samples will be a treasure!” Mr Jolliff said.

“Hats off to our Chinese colleagues for carrying out a very difficult mission; The science that will emerge from the analysis of the returned samples will be a legacy that will last for many, many years and hopefully involve the international community of scientists.

The Chang’e 5 took off from a launch base in southern China’s Hainan island province on November 23 and appeared to have completed its highly technically sophisticated mission without any problems.

It marked China’s third successful lunar landing, but the only one to lift off from the moon again.

Its predecessor, Chang’e 4, became the first probe to land on the little-explored far side of the moon and continues to send data on conditions that could affect future extended human stay on the moon.

The moon has been a particular focus of the Chinese space program, which says it plans to bring humans there and possibly build a permanent base. No timeline or other details have been announced.

China has also joined the effort to explore Mars.

In July, it launched the Tianwen 1 probe, which was carrying a lander and a rover robot to search for water.

In 2003, China became the third country to send an astronaut into orbit on its own after the Soviet Union and the United States and their space program have proceeded more cautiously than the American-Soviet space race of the decade. 1960, which was marked by fatalities and throwing glitches.

By taking gradual steps, China appears on the path to building a program that can maintain steady progress.

“They have read and admired the Apollo playbook (from the American lunar program), but they have also learned the format,” said Joan Johnson-Freese, an expert on China’s space program at the US Naval War College.

“It is better to go slow and configure the infrastructure for the future than to do it quickly and end up with little to keep you going.”

The latest flight includes collaboration with the European Space Agency, which is helping to monitor the mission.

Amid concerns about the secrecy of the Chinese space program and close military connections, the United States prohibits cooperation between NASA and the CNSA unless Congress gives approval.

That has prevented China from participating in the International Space Station, something it has sought to offset by launching an experimental space station and plans to complete a permanent orbit outpost in the next two years.


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