Chinese Rocket Capsule With Moon Rocks Returning To Earth

( The West might not be on great terms with China right now, but Chinese scientists just pulled off a pretty astonishing feat that the whole world can celebrate.

A space capsule developed by the Chinese brought is set to bring back the first moon rocks for more than forty years after it began its three-day journey back to the earth on Sunday.

The Chang’e 5 lunar probe has been orbiting the moon for roughly a week, but on Sunday turned on its four engines for over 20 minutes to exit the moon’s orbit and begin its return to the earth, according to a social media post from the China National Space Administration.

Earlier in December, a lander sent with the craft descended on the moon’s Mons Rumker region, where scientists believe there was previously volcanic activity. The landed took more than 4.4 samples of rock, before returning to the orbiting craft.

The space capsule is expected to land back in northern China in the coming days. Much of the craft will separate upon its descent back into the earth, and the moon rock samples will touch down in parachutes.

It’s fantastic news for scientists who have not had any fresh material from the moon since the Soviet Union land its Luna 24 probe on the rock back in 1976. The new material also comes from an unexplored region of the moon and could prove an insight into whether there was significant volcanic activity on the moon millions of years ago.

The Chang’e 5 also sent back an incredible panoramic color image of the moon, which was released by the Chinese National Space Administration.

Laboratories have been set up in China in anticipation of the return of the rocks. The age and composition o the materials will be brought back and could be several billion years younger than the rocks brought back by the Americans and Russians in decades gone by.