China will send lunar probe Chang’e 5 to land on the moon and return with samples in the second half of 2017, in first such attempt, officials said today. It will be the first time a Chinese probe would land on the moon, collect samples and return to Earth, and the third stage of China’s lunar exploration endeavour, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).
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. China 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.
China plans to orbit Mars, land and deploy a rover around 2020. China also unveil a new generation of carrier rockets including Long March 5 and 7 in 2016, along with other new satellites and spacelabs, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.