China National Space Administration (CNSA) has successfully launched Chang’e-5 — the lunar exploration project that will deliver lunar soil to Earth for the first time in 40 years. The Long March 5 carrier rocket was launched from the Wenchang Space Center in Hainan.
The 23-day mission is focused on collecting samples from the lunar surface, aimed to gather 2 kg of rock and soil in a previously unvisited area of the moon, Mon Rümker, a young lunar volcanic feature. The lander will drill a two-meter-deep hole to collect 1.2 billion-year-old soil.
Chang’e-5 is the third ever mission to deliver lunar soil to Earth. Between 1969 and 1972 six Apollo missions brought back 382 kg of lunar rocks and soil samples from the moon.
The Long March 5 rocket is scheduled to return and land in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia around December 15-16.