The government announced that it had sent a Chinese robotic probe to return a lunar rock to Earth for the first time since it landed on the moon in the 1970s.
State TV and news agencies reported that the Chang 5 probe had “successfully landed” on its planned site, citing China’s National Space Administration.
Launched from the tropical southern island of Hainan in 2003, it is the latest venture into the Chinese space program that shot a man into orbit in 2003. There is a quest to Mars to finally land a man on the moon. .
Plans require the robotic launcher to dig into the lunar surface and climb to the point where 2 kg (4.4 lb) of rocks and debris can be climbed.
If successful, scientists will obtain new samples of lunar rocks for the first time since Soviet exploration in the 1970s.
Chang 5 is China’s third successful lunar landing.
Its predecessor, Chang 4, became the first explorer to land on the moon’s slightly explored distant part.
The latest aircraft includes cooperation with the European Space Agency, which helps monitor the mission.
China’s space program proceeded more cautiously than the US-Soviet space race of the 1960s, marking deaths and launch failures.
In 2003, China became the third country after the Soviet Union and the United States to launch an astronaut into its own orbit.
It also launched the Crude space station.
Space officials say they hope to finally land a man on the moon, but have not announced a timeline or other details.
China and neighboring Japan and India have joined a growing race to explore Mars.
Launched in July, the Tianwen 1 probe is on a journey to the red planet carried by a lander and robotic rover for water.