Earlier this month the Chinese Chang’e 5 probe touched down on the Moon’s Oceanus Procellarum region.
The autonomous probe drilled into the surface of the Moon collecting samples with a view to bringing those samples back to Earth.
The good news is that the probe has made it off of the Moon and is headed back to our green and blue marble.
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) said that the Chang’e 5 probe’s engines were ignited 230km away from the Moon. This ignition lasted just 22 minutes but set the vessel on course for Earth.
According to a report by Reuters, the mission was meant to collect 2kg of samples but the CNSA did not disclose how much soil was collected.
The plan now is for the probe to land in Inner Mongolia. Should it be successful, China will become the third nation to secure samples from the Moon. The United States and the former Soviet Union are the other two.
The fact that China pulled its samples from the Oceanus Procellarum region is interesting in and of itself. Scientists believe that the rock in this region is newer than other areas of the Moon. There is hope that these samples will give us greater insight into the history of the Moon.
However, it’s unclear how or rather if China intends on sharing its research with the global community.
[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]