2020/12/18 What can be learned from the lunar samples brought by Chang’e-5?

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    China’s Chang’e-5 lunar probe returned to Earth, without a hitch, on Thursday morning. The probe spent 23 days in space and brought home soil and rock samples from the moon. The samples will be used for space research. They are the first to be collected from the moon in more than 40 years, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated the Chang’e-5 team for the mission accomplished. The mission was a lot of firsts for China, including the first lunar surface sampling and sealing, first lift-off from the moon, first rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit, and the first spacecraft carrying samples to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Its success bodes well for China’s three-step lunar exploration program, which began in 2004, of orbiting, landing, and bringing samples back to Earth. What can be learned from the lunar samples? What’s next for China’s space missions? And what’s the significance of the Chang’e-5 success for space exploration?

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