A Chinese probe carrying samples from the moon’s surface has successfully docked with a spacecraft orbiting the moon, another first space for the nation, state media reported.
Sunday’s maneuver was part of the ambitious Chang’e-5 mission – named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the Moon – to return samples of the first lunar moon in four decades.
The capsule carrying the moon’s rocks and earth came out of the surface on Thursday and docked with the orbiter on Sunday morning, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing China’s National Space Administration.
Xinhua said China’s first “appointment and docking in the orbit of the moon.”
The charge capsule was also the first to leave the moon’s surface on Thursday: the first issue of a Chinese spacecraft from an extraterrestrial body.
The capsule transferred samples of the moon to the orbiter, separated them and returned them to Earth, Xinhua said.
China wants to capture the US and Russia after decades of achievements, and has spilled billions into its military space program.
His space agency had previously said that “before it took off, the Chinese flag was raised on the surface of the moon.”
Scientists hope the Chang’e-5 samples will help to better understand the origin of the Moon and its volcanic activity on its surface.
If the return trip is successful, China will become the third country to recover samples from the Moon, following the US and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 70s.