The Chinese lunar probe lands on Earth

With the moon rocks in hand, China prepares for future missions; he says will share lunar samples with other countries

After the successful return of the moon rocks by its Chang’e 5 robotic probe, China is preparing future missions This could set the stage for an eventual moon base to house human explorers, a senior space program official said Thursday.

China’s next three moon missions are on track, along with plans for returning samples from Mars and exploration of asteroids and the planet Jupiter, said Wu Yanhua, deputy chief commander of China’s lunar exploration program.

“ The exploration of the truth of the universe is only just beginning, ” Wu said in a press conference held hours after the Chang’e 5 capsule parachuted to a landing in Inner Mongolia, bringing the first lunar samples to bring Land in more than 40 years.

Named after the Chinese moon goddess, the Chang’e program made three landings there, even on the less explored side. Chang’e 6, scheduled to launch in 2023, will collect more samples from the lunar south pole, while its two successors will conduct detailed investigations and test the technologies needed to build a science base on the moon.

No dates have been given for Chang’e 7 and 8, or for a manned mission to the moon that China says is in the works, or for building a moon base.

“ China is willing to continue contributing to the world and improving human well-being with Chinese space solutions, ” Wu said.

The Chang’e 5 spacecraft and its cargo of samples were flown to the Beijing Space Program campus after landing just before 2 a.m. on Thursday.

The mission achieved first results for China’s lunar exploration program in collecting samples, launching a vehicle from the lunar surface, and anchoring the capsule to transfer the samples for their journey to Earth, the administration said. Chinese national spacecraft in a statement released after landing.

“ As our nation’s most complex and technically revolutionary space mission, Chang’e 5 has achieved multiple technical breakthroughs … and represents a milestone, ” he said.

China in 2003 became only the third country to send an astronaut into orbit alone after the Soviet Union and the United States and its space program proceeded on a steady and cautious path, largely avoiding casualties and failures. of the launches that ruined the US Soviet Space Race of the 1960s.

Wu said the last flight involved a collaboration with the European Space Agency, along with Argentina, Namibia, Pakistan and other nations with which the Chinese collaborates for monitoring and communication with its spacecraft. China in the future “ will encourage more scientists around the world to participate to get more scientific achievements, ” Wu said.