A Chinese probe, sent to the moon to return the first lunar samples four decades ago, has successfully landed, according to the Chinese space agency.

China has poured billions into its military-run space program, hoping to have a space station crew by 2022 and eventually send humans to the moon.

The mission’s final goal is to collect lunar rocks and soil to help scientists learn about the moon’s origins, composition, and volcanic activity on its surface.

The Chang’e-5 spacecraft – named after the Chinese moon goddess – landed on the near side of the moon late Tuesday, the state media agency Xinhua reported, citing the China National newspaper. Void Management.

If the return flight is successful, China would be only the third country to have recovered samples from the moon, after the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.

Xinhua said the probe entered lunar orbit on Saturday after a 112-hour flight from Earth. After a rocket carried it into space from Hainan Province last week.

In order to collect 2 kg (4.5 lb) of surface material in a previously unexplored area known as Oceanus Procellarum, which consists of a broad lava plain, according to the journal Nature.

The collection will take place over the course of one lunar day – equivalent to about 14 Earth days.

Its lunar samples will then be returned to Earth in a capsule programmed to land in Inner Mongolia, northern China this month, according to NASA.

The 2019 moon landing in China sets the stage for the space race

Jonathan McDowell, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said last month that the task is technically challenging and includes many innovations that we haven’t seen during previous attempts to collect moon rocks.

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Under President Xi Jinping, China’s plans for a “space dream,” as he calls it, have gone to great lengths.

The The new superpower is looking to catch up with the United States and Russia After years of late matching their space milestones.

A Chinese lunar spacecraft landed on the far side of the moon in January 2019 in a global precedent that boosted Beijing’s aspirations to become a superpower in space.

The latest probe is among a plethora of ambitious targets set by Beijing, which include creating a powerful missile capable of delivering payloads heavier than those that NASA and the private missile company SpaceX can handle, a lunar base and a permanent manned space station.

Chinese astronauts and scientists have also discussed manned missions to Mars.