China successfully lands historic robotic mission on the Moon
China has landed its robotic Chang'e-5 mission on the lunar surface, according to state-run news service Xinhua.
Why it matters: The spacecraft is expected to collect samples from the Moon that will then be returned to Earth for scientific analysis, marking China's most ambitious Moon mission yet.
- If successful, China will become just the third nation — after the U.S. and former Soviet Union — to bring samples back from the Moon.
The state of play: The lander should drill into the surface of the Moon to collect its sample in the coming hours, according to Andrew Jones at Space News.
- That sample is then expected to be delivered back to Earth mid-month.
The big picture: China has had a run of successes on the Moon in recent years.
- The Chang'e-4 spacecraft became the first to land and operate on the far side of the Moon in January 2019.
- The nation also has plans to eventually send people to the lunar surface.