A Chinese robotic spacecraft is poised to land on the moon as early as Wednesday, in the first bid by any country to retrieve lunar surface samples since the 1970s.
State broadcaster CCTV showed on Tuesday animated sequences of the Chang’e-5 spacecraft and the projected scenario for landing on the moon. The landing could happen at anytime on Wednesday as long as the conditions are favourable, according to local media reports.
Upon entering the moon’s orbit, the spacecraft is intended to deploy a pair of vehicles to the lunar surface: a lander and an ascender.
If the mission is completed as planned, it would make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, joining the United States and the Soviet Union.
The entire mission, from the initial launch on Nov. 24 until the return to Earth, is scheduled to take around 23 days.