The Chinese spacecraft set off from the moon on Thursday, leaving a sign that it was traveling on the moon.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chuying posted on Twitter a photo of the national flag on the moon, while hoping for a safe return of the Change 5 ships.
On the way home! #ChangE5 blasted off from the #moon with the lunar samples.
Have a safe journey home! pic.twitter.com/54PJSd4CjP
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) December 4, 2020
Change 5’s drone missions are a series of latest missions, including China’s lunar exploration program. The mission, which was launched by truck, represents the first time since the Soviet Union in the 1970s that a spacecraft has attempted to return a lunar sample.
Thomas Zorbuchen, deputy director of the NASA, congratulated China on its landing on Tuesday.
Zubuchen tweeted: “Congratulations on the successful landing of China’s Change 5.”
“It’s not going to be easy. When the samples collected on the moon are returned to Earth, we hope everyone will benefit from researching this valuable burden that will advance the international scientific community,” Twitter continued.
Congratulations to China on the successful landing of Chang’e 5. This is no easy task. When the samples collected on the Moon are returned to Earth, we hope everyone will benefit from being able to study this precious cargo that could advance the international science community. pic.twitter.com/2xoKouf3dq
— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) December 1, 2020
The NASA said on Twitter in November that it hoped China would “share data with the World Science Society and increase our understanding of the moon, as Artemis does, as our Apollo mission does.”
The Change 5 return module connects to the grasslands of Inner Mongolia in mid-December, and the Chinese manned Shenzhou spacecraft has been back since 2003 when China first launched into space. China is just a third country followed by Russia and the United States.
Change 5’s mission has revitalized China’s talk of sending a fleet to the moon and building a scientific base here, although no timetable for the project has been set.
China also launched its first temporary rotation laboratory for the second time in 2011 and 2016. The plan calls for a permanent space station after 2022, perhaps to serve a reusable spacecraft.
Although China is stepping up cooperation with the European Space Agency and others, the US space agency’s interactions are due to the secrecy of the China Space Program and its close ties to the national army.