China says will share lunar samples with other countries

Artwork Entry into atmosphere

China lands its Moon rocks in Inner Mongolia

China on the moon!

"As our nation's most complex and technically groundbreaking space mission, Chang'e 5 has achieved multiple technical breakthroughs ... and represents a landmark achievement", CNSA said in a statement.

China considers lunar missions key to its space program.

China's unmanned Chang'e 5 spacecraft has returned safely to earth carrying 2 kilogrammes of rocks and soil from the moon's surface, making China just the third country after the U.S. and the Soviet Union to achieve the feat.

The lander-ascender combination of Chang'e 5 robotic lunar probe finished gathering lunar samples and packed them in a vacuum container on Dec 2.

Wu Yanhua, deputy director of China National Space Administration, said China is willing to conduct friendly and honest cooperation with the United States, but NASA and other official agencies from the USA have been prohibited from collaborating with their Chinese peers since 2011.

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Returning satellites typically fly at around a speed of 7.8 km per second, but Chang'e-5 return module was flying at over 11.2 km per second, at the speed of Earth's escape velocity.

The sample return capsule slowed its descent with an initial bounce off the upper layers of the atmosphere over the Arabian Sea, followed by the parachute-aided plunge to Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia. The research team will have to confirm these quantities once the capsule is opened.

An air team in helicopters spotted the capsule using infrared cameras, while a ground team followed in SUVs to reach the snow-covered landing site.

The congratulatory message was read out by State Councilor Wang Yong at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

"We have just measured the shape of the crater that the returner landed on, which is part of the scientific data collection".

China used advanced radar as well as newly developed powered exoskeletons for two members of the search crew, equipped with communication transponders, searchlights, and power, for search and recovery.

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Chang'e 5 was created to bring back 4.4 lbs. That lander stuffed as much as two kilograms of rock and dirt into an ascent vehicle over the course of two days, and then sent the ascent vehicle up to its scheduled rendezvous with the orbiter.

The multi-phase mission launched on November 23.

It comes from a part of the moon known as Oceanus Procellarum, or Ocean of Storms, near a site called Mons Rumker that is believed to have been volcanic in ancient times.

In Beijing, CNSA will transfer the lunar materials to the Lunar Sample Laboratory at the National Astronomical Observatory (NAO) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a facility that has been built specially for storage, processing and analysis of the samples. "To address that, we have verified several times and designed a special process".

"We have not taken them out (of the probe) yet".

"We will announce this soon", Hu Hao, chief designer of the third phase of China's lunar exploration programme, told Reuters on the sidelines of the briefing. Assuming that the samples are intact, Chinese scientists and their worldwide collaborators could well be studying the material for decades.

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