China just raised its flag on the moon Image credit: CNSA
The upper echelon of the port of Chain exploded on Friday from the surface of the moon. If the mission succeeds, it will make China the third country after the United States and the former Soviet Union to bring moons to Earth.
- Associated Press BEIJING
- Last update: December 6, 2020, 10:07 am
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A Chinese probe that landed on the moon carried rocks into orbit on Sunday in preparation for the return of lunar specimens to Earth for the first time in nearly 45 years, the space agency said.
The upper stage of the port of Chain exploded on Friday from the surface of the moon. If the mission succeeds, it will make China the third country after the United States and the former Soviet Union to carry rocks to the moon.
The ascent phase was anchored by a robotic spacecraft orbiting the Moon at 5:42 a.m. Sunday (2142 GMT Saturday), state media reported, citing China’s National Space Administration. The samples were transferred to the orbiter 30 minutes later.
A capsule of rock samples is due to land in the northern grasslands of China in the Inner Mongolia region in mid-December. They will be the first fresh samples of the Moon’s surface to be obtained by scientists from the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 probe in 1976.
The CNSA published a photo taken by the orbiter, which shows the rocket on the climb approaching for a rendezvous.
China is in the midst of a series of increasingly ambitious space missions, including exploring its path to Mars and developing a reusable spacecraft. Plans call for a man to return to the moon five decades after US astronauts.