China Chang'e 5 Lunar Probe Moon Photo
Photo credit: Peta Pixel
China’s Chang’e 5 lunar probe achieved a major milestone when it successfully completed a soft lunar landing on Tuesday. Its moon lander and ascender vehicle landed near the peak of Mons Rümker, a mountain in the Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms) region of the moon. This area was chosen because its geological age dates back to around 3.7 billion years, which could help scientists gain a more comprehensive understanding of the formation and evolution of the celestial body. Read more for a video and additional information.

The lander will drill as deep as 6.6-feet to collection rock cores and also use its robotic arm to collect up to 4.4 pounds of surface samples in its protective capsules over two weeks. The orbiter is expected to keep circling the moon and wait for the lander to finish sampling before ascending back to the lunar orbit. The mission will then rocket out of lunar orbit and return to Earth, landing in China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia some time during mid-December.

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China Chang'e 5 Lunar Probe Moon Photo