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China's Chang’e 5 collected the first lunar samples since 1976.

On Dec 1, 2020, China's Chang'e 5 was landed on the moon to collect lunar samples. The plan was to collect 2 kg (4.4 pounds) of samples from the moon.

On Dec 1, 2020, China's Chang'e 5 was landed on the moon to collect lunar samples. The plan was to collect 2 kg (4.4 pounds) of samples from the moon.On Dec 1, 2020, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced the Chang'e-5 probe was successfully landed on the moon's expected side, and it became China's third probe, which was successfully made a smooth landing on the moon. It had sent back footage of the time it landed. The probe took around 15 minutes for a couple of the spacecraft's four modules to make the drop from a circular orbit of 15 kilometers above the moon's surface. The sample collection was completed after 19 hours without disclosing the total weight of the samples collected.

According to a Space report, Chang'e 5 spacecraft touched down on the moon at 10:11 a.m. EST (1511GMT, 11:11 p.m. Beijing Time) near Mons Rümker, a mountain in the Ocean of Storms (or Oceanus Procellarum), CNSA officials said. The probe deployed its solar array and antenna soon after to begin its work on the moon. Two pieces of the four-module, 18,100-lb. (8,200 kilograms) Chang'e 5 mission hit the gray dirt today — a stationary lander and an ascent vehicle. If all goes according to plan, the Lander will spend the next few days collecting about 4.4 lbs. (2 kg) of lunar material, some of it dug from up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) beneath the lunar surface.

CNSA engineer Wang Qiong told CGTN. 'The most difficult part of the landing was for the modules to hover above the lunar surface; the module's engine thrust must counteract the lunar gravity so that the modules can hover there and evaluate the situation of the landing site before touching down on the surface.'

On Dec 3, 2020, the CNSA stated that the Chang'e-5 had finished the sampling and successfully carried the gathered samples in a particular container by Dec 3, 2020, night. According to U.S. space agency NASA, the samples will be returned to Earth in a capsule programmed to land in northern China's Inner Mongolia region in early December.

Between 1969 and1976, over 2,300 lunar samples were retrieved by various lunar missions conducted by the United States and the Soviet Union. The Apollo missions of the U.S. and the LUNA mission of the Soviet Union have extensively worked on collecting various lunar samples like the plutonic rocks, soil samples, core samples, etc. The last mission that retrieved the lunar samples before China in Dec. 2020 was the LUNA 24 carried out by the Soviet Union. The LUNA 24 entered the moon's orbit in 1974, and after conducting various missions, it carried out the drilling of the moon's surface in 1976 and returned to earth with lunar samples. No other missions were successful in retrieving samples from the moon ever since.

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