China's historic Chang'e 5 lunar probe successfully lands on the moon

Chinese state media has announced the Chang’e 5 lunar probe tasked with returning moon samples to Earth has successfully made it to the lunar surface.

The probe – which consists of four modules – will now attempt to collect rock samples before bringing them back to Earth.

The samples will be loaded onto a small return vehicle that will blast off from the moon on Thursday.

The exact time of the touchdown was not confirmed by China’s National Space Administration (CNSA). China Science reported the landing in a tweet, saying: “#Breaking: The Chang’e-5 successfully landed on the near side of Moon, China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on Tuesday.’

Live video of the moment was also interrupted before the landing occurred.

The lander will dig for materials with its drill and robotic arm and transfer them to what is called an ascender, which will lift off from the moon and dock with the service capsule.

The materials will then be moved to the return capsule to be hauled back to Earth.

The mission is among China’s boldest since it first put a man in space in 2003, becoming only the third nation to do so after the US and Russia.

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