China will send lunar probe Chang’e 5 to land on the moon and return with samples in the second half of 2017, officials said on Friday.
According to State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND), it will be the first time a Chinese probe will land on the moon, collect samples and return to Earth, and the third stage of China’s lunar exploration endeavour.
The first stage of lunar expedition was achieved by sending Chang’e 1, a circumlunar satellite, in 2007.
China landed its first lunar probe Chang’e 3 on the surface of the moon in 2013.
Beijing is also planning to be the first country to land on the far side of the moon. That mission will be carried out by Chang’e-4, a backup for Chang’e-3, and is due to be launched in 2018, according to SASTIND.
It also plans to orbit Mars, land and deploy a rover around 2020.
The country will also unveil a new generation of carrier rockets including Long March 5 and 7 in 2016, along with other new satellites and spacelabs.