China’s space agency has announced that it will share data and samples obtained from the moon by its Chang’e 5 probe under international conventions, although US restrictions could prevent them from receiving it.
The Chang’e 5 probe landed in Inner Mongolia on Thursday morning after completing a mission to retrieve lunar rocks and soil, providing the first material for any country since the 1970s.
Following the return of the probe, the Deputy Head of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), Wu Yanhua, announced the country’s plans.
We will share with the relevant countries and scientists overseas, and some of them may be given as national gifts in accordance with international practices.
However, the United States might be restricted from cooperating with China and receiving samples or data, as NASA is limited from working directly with China, something Wu described as “unfortunate.”
China made clear that any future cooperation with the US would be down to America’s policy, with Beijing willing to cooperate with agencies and scientific bodies for mutual gain if Washington agrees.
The CNSA has not yet revealed the amount that was collected but the group had initially hoped to secure at least two kilograms of material. Once they have had time to examine the contents of the probe, China’s lunar exploration program will make an official announcement about the contents.
The mission, which started on November 24, also saw China test its ability to collect samples in outer space, as part of its preparation for future missions that might be more intricate.
China is only the third country in the world to successfully retrieve material from the moon, following the US and Russia, and Beijing is already planning on conducting further exploratory trips to the moon, including building a research station.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!