A Chinese spacecraft carrying rocks and soil from the Moon has begun its journey back to Earth, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday, putting China on track to become the first country to successfully retrieve samples. moles since the 1970s.
The engines of the Chang’e-5 probe ignited 230 km from the lunar surface early on Sunday Beijing time, before shutting down after 22 minutes with the spacecraft on a trajectory toward Earth, Xinhua said, citing a statement. of the National Space Administration of China. .
A successful landing in Inner Mongolia would make China the third country to have recovered lunar samples after the United States and the Soviet Union. The plan was to collect 2 kg of samples, although it has not been revealed how many were actually collected.
Chang’e-5 was launched on November 24 and a lander landed on the moon on December 1. The mission was expected to last around 23 days in total. Reuters