China to share part of lunar samples with scientists from other countries

The lunar samples will be mainly used for scientific research. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China plans to share data and samples that the Chang'e 5 probe obtained during its recent mission to the Moon, based on international cooperation conventions, said the deputy head of the country's space agency on Thursday (Dec 17).

The lunar samples will be mainly used for scientific research, Mr Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the China National Space Administration, told a press briefing.

The Moon probe landed in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia early on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported earlier, completing its return to Earth and bringing back the first lunar samples since the 1970s.

The return capsule touched down in the Siziwang, or Dorbod, banner of Inner Mongolia, Xinhua said, citing the China National Space Administration.

China launched the Chang'e-5 spacecraft on Nov 24 and landed a vehicle on the Moon at the start of December.

The success of the mission would make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, after the United States and the Soviet Union, which 44 years ago launched the last successful mission to retrieve samples.

The plan was to collect 2kg of samples, although how much was eventually gathered has yet to be disclosed.

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