Named after the mythical Chinese deity Moon, the robotic spacecraft will spend two days on the moon collecting mission-controlled soil and rock samples from the moon, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.
This is the first attempt by any country to collect rocks from the moon since the 1970s.
The study robot arm will clear the rocks from the surface and a drill will be drilled into the ground to collect the soil. The models, which are expected to weigh about 2 kilograms (4.5 pounds), will be sealed in a container on the shuttle.
If successful, the mission would only make China the third country to recover lunar models, following the United States and the former Soviet Union decades ago.
Astronauts from the United States During the Apollo program between 389 and 1972 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of rock and soil were brought back, while in 1976 the Soviet Union collected 170.1 grams (6 ounces) of samples.
When the samples return to Earth, scientists will be able to study the Moon’s soil structure, physical properties and composition, according to China’s space agency.
This task may help answer questions such as how long the Moon has been volcanic in its interior, and its magnetic field – the key to protecting any life from the sun’s radiation.
On March 24, a Long March-5 rocket carrying the Chang-5 spacecraft exploded off the Wenchang spacecraft launch pad on Hainan Island off the south coast of China.
The spacecraft landed on a previously unseen part of the moon – the Oceanus Procellarium or a large volcanic plain known as the “Ocean of Storms”. About 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) wide, this large dark dot may have been the result of a massive cosmic impact, NASA says, creating an ancient magma ocean.
This marks the third successful landing of a Chinese lunar probe on the moon’s surface, according to the state – run Xinhua news agency.
CNN’s Jesse Young and Mitchell McCluskey contributed to the report.