Beijing: Chang'e 5 has landed on the moon

The robot that separated from the spacecraft has begun to collect lunar material: it will be used to study the origin and history of the solar system. Powered by solar panels, the exploration module will collect about 2kg of rocks and debris. The return scheduled for mid-December. Another success for China's space program.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Chang'e 5 space mission module landed on the moon last night. The Chinese Space Agency this morning announced the robot is collecting the first samples of lunar rocks to be brought back to earth for scientific purposes.

The exploration module touched the ground after separating from the shuttle, and is now powered by solar panels.

The spacecraft took off on November 24 from the Wenchang base on the island of Hainan. The lander, which is now in the Mons Rümker volcanic zone (Oceanus Procellarum), must collect about 2 kg of soil and debris, which will then be sent to the orbiting spacecraft. It will then transport the samples to land: in all likelihood it will be recovered in Inner Mongolia in mid-December.

China is the third country, after the United States and Russia, to come into possession of lunar rocks, useful for learning about the origin and history of the solar system. The last to accomplish the feat were the Soviets in 1976, collecting just under 200 kg of material

Beijing has become increasingly involved in space exploration. Last year one of its probes landed on the hidden part of the Earth's satellite; in July it launched a robot ship to reach Mars. The Chinese Space Centre plans to have a permanent space station from 2022 and to send its own astronaut to the moon.