China’s Chang’e 5 mission, tasked with bringing a sample of lunar dirt back to Earth, successfully landed on the Moon on Tuesday, marking the third time that China has placed a robotic spacecraft on the lunar surface. The lander will soon begin digging up samples of lunar soil, which will be returned to our planet later this month.
Chang’e 5 launched from China’s Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on November 23rd, flying to space on top of a Long March 5 rocket. It’s a complex mission consisting of four main spacecraft that will all work together to bring between 2 to 4 kilograms of lunar dirt back to Earth. The quartet traveled to the Moon attached together and got into lunar orbit on November 28th.
Two of those four spacecraft include a lander and an ascent vehicle, which are stacked on top of each other. On November 28th, the pair separated from the third spacecraft, Chang’e-5’s service module, which remained in orbit around the Moon. The lander and ascent module touched down on the lunar surface today, according to CGTN, though a time was not provided.