In preparation for a trip to collect samples from the Moon’s surface, China last week launched a test probe, Chang’e 5T1.
It looks like all went well. Chang’e 5T1 launched on October 23, has swung around the Moon and is headed back to Earth for an October 31 touchdown in China’s Inner Mongolia region.
It didn’t enter lunar orbit, but it did take this beautiful snap of both the Moon and Earth from a rare perspective that looks like it’s already headed straight for the Space Photography Pool Room:
China’s fourth lunar probe, Chang’e 5, will launch in 2017. The project is military-run and aims to have a permanent station orbiting the Moon by 2020.
China currently has a rover on the Moon, Jade Rabbit, which despite a potentially embarrassing early failure, is still going.
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