Published: Thu, January 21, 2021
Science | By

China awaits probe's return to Earth with Moon rocks

China awaits probe's return to Earth with Moon rocks

China's national flag is seen unfurled on the moon from the Chang'e-5 spacecraft.

The space agency said that "before lift-off, the Chinese flag was raised on the moon's surface".

These contracts are set to mark a historic moment as the first-ever commercial transaction for the collection of lunar resources, as well as the first transaction for space resources to take place off-world. ispace believes this will be a first step toward normalizing the commercial trade of space resources among worldwide stakeholders.

China launched a robotic spacecraft on November 24 to bring back rocks from the moon in the first bid by any country to retrieve samples since 1976.

Under the Artemis lunar exploration project, NASA is working toward its goals of sending astronauts back to the surface of the Moon by 2024 and establishing sustainable lunar surface exploration with its commercial and global partners by 2028.

The landing site is close to a form called the Mons rumbler and may contain rocks billions of years younger than previously restored.

After the samples were collected and sealed, the ascender of Chang'e-5 took off from the lunar surface.

A module carrying lunar rocks and soil was launched into orbit by a powerful thrust engine, officials said of the mission that landed Tuesday on the Moon.

It is not clear when the merger will occur.

The ascender will next separate from the reentry capsule, which will then fly back to an Earth orbit, together with an orbiter, the administration said. The ascent stage will then be ejected, and with a scheduled landing in inner Mongolia by December 17, the orbiter will head back to Earth.

NASA bought the rights to four batches of future moon samples as part of its low-priced lunar resource collection programme, paying just $25,000 in total.

Through Moon exploration, NASA says it wants to find and use water and other critical resources needed for long-term exploration and prove technologies that will be useful for its eventual goal of sending astronauts on missions to Mars, the round trip for which can take up to three years.

China launched its first temporary orbiting laboratory in 2011 and a second in 2016. Plans call for a permanent space station after 2022, possibly to be serviced by a reusable space plane.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that it has awarded contracts to both ispace, inc.

A container with 2 kilogrammes (4.4 pounds) of rocks was transferred to the orbiter 30 minutes later.

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