China's Chang'e-5 Spacecraft Completes Moon Sampling
A Chinese space probe sent to gather material from a previously unexplored part of the moon has completed its mission and is preparing to send back the world's first lunar samples in four decades, Beijing said Thursday.
China has poured billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022 and eventually sending humans to the Moon.
The Chang'e-5 spacecraft, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, landed on the moon Tuesday and has now completed its gathering of lunar rocks and soil, the China National Space Administration said.
The spacecraft had been due to collect two kilograms (4.5 pounds) of material from an area known as Oceanus Procellarum -- or "Ocean of Storms" -- a vast lava plain, according to the science journal Nature.
Scientists hope the samples will help them learn about the Moon's origins, formation and volcanic activity on its surface.