The latest Chinese lunar probe has finished collecting samples of the lunar surface and sealed them inside the spacecraft for its return to Earth.
The Chang’e 5, the third Chinese probe to land on the moon, is the latest in a series of increasingly ambitious missions for the Beijing space program, which also has a probe en route to Mars carrying a rover robot.
The Chang’e 5 landed on Tuesday on a mission to return lunar rock samples to Earth for the first time since 1976.
The spacecraft “has completed sampling on the moon, and the samples have been sealed inside the spacecraft,” China’s National Space Administration said in a statement Thursday.
Plans call for the spacecraft’s upper stage to be launched back into the lunar orbit to transfer the samples to a capsule for return to Earth.
Australian Associated Press