On December 1, a Chinese probe landed on the moon about 40 years after the last human incursion into the moon’s natural satellite.
The Chinese space program was launched last year, and Chinese officials have every reason to celebrate a performance that only the United States has discussed in recent decades. On Tuesday, just before 10:30 ET, the Chang-5 spacecraft landed on the lunar surface. This week, it will collect soil and dust samples from the star, which will soon return to Earth.
Undeterred, Chinese officials avoided broadcasting the landing, perhaps thinking that if there was a problem, it would be a joke for the entire planet. Fortunately, it did not take long after some video footage of the shadow of the study on the surface of the moon came online. If it returns to Earth successfully, for no apparent reason, this is the first time in 44 years that humans have collected rocks from the surface of our planet’s satellite.
– Jonathan Amos (@ BBC Amos) December 1, 2020
Both the United States and Russia collected significant amounts of rock from the moon during their space missions in the 1960s and 1970s. In total, the Americans returned to Earth for about 382 kg of space rock, while the Russians were satisfied with less than half a kilogram. The Chinese spacecraft hopes to bring about 2 kilograms to Earth.
Unlike the images that landed 50 years ago, the Chang-5 spacecraft sent a color clip to Earth with the moment it landed on the moon. If you think you have never seen this color frame, the resolution of the clip is very good, and the colors are interesting.