For the first time after the 1970s, China successfully carried out a mission that brought samples from the moon back to planet Earth. China’s capsule separated from its orbiter and landed in Inner Mongolia at about 2 am local time.
China’s Xinhua news agency reported that its parachute opened as planned and the capsule has been found by a search team, and it’s been airlifted to Beijing where it will be opened.
China’s space agency is seeing this mission as a step toward crewed lunar missions, and the establishment of a base on the moon.
The mission was launched in late November with the aim of collecting four pounds of samples from an area that’s younger than the area Apollo astronauts visited in the 60s and 70s.
The Chang’e-5 mission returned to earth just days after Japan’s space agency recovered samples its Hayabusa2 probe took from the asteroid Ryugu, and a couple of months after NASA’s OSIRIS-REx craft grabbed asteroid samples of its own as well.
The detail of the sample collected has not been released as the Agency is yet to open it.