Chinese Spacecraft Returns to Earth With Samples From the Moon
Chinese spacecraft Chang’e-5 returned to Earth on Thursday morning Beijing time with samples from the moon in tow. The capsule picked up over four pounds of material during its mission to the moon, the country’s third successful mission to the site in the 21st century. The material was collected on Mons Rümker, a volcanic plain, and it’s unlikely that U.S. scientists will have access to the samples. The U.S. has never allowed China to study the moon samples Americans collected from the moon decades ago. China’s latest mission is seen as a sign that the country’s outer space operation is gaining on that of the U.S. and Russia. The country is even considering creating a space station in the Earth’s orbit similar to the International Space Station. China is the only country that has landed on the moon in the 21st century and has done so three times.