BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Immediately after the successful launch of Chang'e-5 on Tuesday (Nov 24), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States expressed its hope that China would share the data from its first sample-and-return effort, demonstrating the US space agency's confidence that China's latest moon mission will be a success.
In a similar vein, the sincere wishes extended to the Chang'e-5 moon probe before its launch is testimony to the world's conviction that such missions can deepen humankind's understanding of space.
If all goes well, Chang'e-5 will collect and bring back sample materials from the surface of the far side of the moon in 23 days, enabling them to be analysed on Earth.
The mission is technically challenging as once in the moon's orbit, the probe will aim to deploy a pair of vehicles to the surface: a lander will drill into the ground, then transfer its soil and rock samples to an ascender that will lift off and dock with an orbiting module.
Although the United States and the Soviet Union brought back samples from the surface of the moon decades ago, the technology and design of Chang'e-5 are much more advanced.
Not only has aerospace technology progressed in the intervening years, but also China regards the mission as a preparation for more ambitious objectives - for instance sending astronauts to the moon or even beyond.
Despite China always being open to international cooperation in space science and technology, the support it has obtained from other countries, particularly the leading players in the field, has been quite limited.
The progress it has made in the space program should be largely attributed to its long-term inputs, and the great advances it has made in related industries and sciences.
There is no doubt that the country remains a chaser, and will remain so for a long time. The high-technology sanctions and containment of the US will not only make the chase more difficult, but also its chasing more determined.
With this determination, and the country's firm resolve to build a community with a shared future for humankind, the country will unswervingly accelerate the development of its space cause along its charted course, so as to further promote humankind's peaceful use of the space, bring more tangible benefits to people, and help resolve common challenges confronting the world.
It is hoped that more young people can be inspired by not only the encouraging successes the country has achieved, but also the painful failures it has endured.
Bon voyage, Chang'e-5. Come back home safe and sound.
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