Chinese spacecraft carrying lunar rocks lifts off from moon

Chinese moon probe begins return to Earth with lunar samples
This image taken by panoramic camera aboard the lander-ascender combination of Chang’e-5 spacecraft provided by China National Space Administration shows a moon surface after it landed on the moon on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Chinese government say the spacecraft landed on the moon on Tuesday to bring back lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua via AP)

A Chinese spacecraft lifted off from the moon Thursday night with a load of lunar rocks, the first stage of its return to Earth, the government space agency reported.

Chang’e 5, the third Chinese spacecraft to land on the moon and the first to take off from it again, is the latest in a series of increasingly ambitious missions for Beijing’s space program, which also has a orbiter and rover headed to Mars.

The Chang’e 5 touched down Tuesday on the Sea of Storms on

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NASA chooses 4 firms for first private lunar sample collection

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 3 (UPI) — Four companies will collect moon rocks and dust on the lunar surface for NASA by 2023 in preparation for a human mission the following year, the space agency announced Thursday.

The missions would be the first time a private company has collected samples from another planetary body, and the first time ownership of an object would be transferred beyond Earth orbit, according to NASA.

The companies are Lunar Outpost, based near Denver; ispace Japan of Tokyo; Luxembourg-based ispace Europe and Masten Space Systems, of Mojave, Calif. All four are planning to fly equipment to the moon on missions already planned.

The sample missions are intended only to provide a “proof of concept” to show NASA how a private company would collect samples. The missions also will test a legal framework for turning over ownership of such samples on the moon, said Phil McAlister, the

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Lunar Probe Captures 119 Megapixel Color Photo of the Moon’s Surface

China’s Chang’e 5 probe landed on the surface of the moon on December 1, 2020. Less than a day later, it has sent back a short video of its descent along with an extremely high-resolution panoramic image of the surface of the moon.

The panoramic image shows the Oceanus Procellarum region of the moon where the Chinese spacecraft landed and depicts the lander and one of it’s legs in the foreground with the moon’s surface stretching out in front of it. The color photo is 15,000 x 7,947 pixels or approximately 119 megapixels in size.

The first photo that was taken on the surface of the moon also happened to be in the Oceanus Procellarum region and was captured from the Societ Luna 9 Lander in February of 1966. Comparing this image to the one from the Chang’e 5 probe beautifully illustrates how far technology has come.

Image Credit: National
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China’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft successfully lands on the moon to retrieve lunar rocks and soil

Chinese state media reported Tuesday that the probe “successfully landed” at its targeted site, an area called Oceanus Procellarum. China did not immediately announce any other details about the landing.

On the lunar surface, the probe is expected to dig about seven feet deep, collecting as much as 4.5 pounds of rocks and lunar soil into the ascent vehicle, which would then meet up with the service capsule in lunar orbit and return to Earth.

Once the material is back on Earth, scientists would be able to calculate its age and examine it to determine its composition.

On Twitter, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for the science mission directorate, congratulated China. “This is no easy task,” he wrote. “When the samples collected on the Moon are returned to Earth, we hope everyone will benefit from being able to study this precious cargo that could advance the international science community.”

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China’s Chang’e 5 lands on moon, gets readies to dig in the lunar dirt

China’s Chang’e 5 mission has touched down on the surface of the moon, the country’s media reports. Next, the lander will drill to collect volcanic moon rock samples and scoop up some lunar dirt for return to Earth later this month.

a store inside of a building: The Long March rocket carrying Chang'e 5, prepared for launch. CNSA

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The Long March rocket carrying Chang’e 5, prepared for launch. CNSA

China’s space agency launched the Chang’e 5 mission atop of one of its Long March 5 rockets on Nov. 23. The lunar-sample return marks the first such mission by any country in decades.


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The landing came just before 7:15 a.m. PT on Tuesday. The gear is now expected to gather its samples and stow them in a small spacecraft atop the lander, which will then lift off in about 48 hours. After that, the ascent vehicle will transfer the samples to an orbiter now circling the moon that will transport them back

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Don’t Miss The Year’s Last Penumbral Lunar Eclipse


  • November 2020 sky events will end with a full moon and partial penumbral lunar eclipse
  • It will be visible in North and South America, Australia and eastern Asia
  • One of the traditional names for the November full moon is the “Beaver Moon”

The November full moon will rise very early on Monday morning, and this time it will come with the fourth and final penumbral lunar eclipse of the year.

A penumbral lunar eclipse happens when the full moon moves into the penumbral shadow of the Earth, causing it to slightly lose its brightness for several hours. The previous penumbral lunar eclipse this year was the Independence Day Eclipse but, at the time, only about 35% of the moon’s surface was dimmed by the Earth’s penumbra.

This time, some 82% of the moon’s surface will pass through the Earth’s shadow, making it a more detectable event, Universe Today

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Lunar eclipse will be visible during the full beaver moon this weekend

Take a break from online holiday shopping this weekend to enjoy the full moon and a penumbral lunar eclipse.

The full moon during the penumbral lunar eclipse is shown here, as seen from Kathmandu on January 11.

The full moon during the penumbral lunar eclipse is shown here, as seen from Kathmandu on January 11.

Both events will be visible early Monday morning.

Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon, but a penumbral lunar eclipse is different from a total lunar eclipse.

A penumbral eclipse occurs when the moon moves into Earth’s penumbra, or outer shadow. This causes the moon to look darker than normal.

During a total lunar eclipse, the change is more dramatic because the entire moon appears to be a deep red color.

This is the last penumbral eclipse of the year and will be visible to those in North and South America, Australia and parts of Asia. Check Time and Date to see when it will occur in

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Lunar eclipse coming Sunday night, though it might be hard to see

The celestial bodies are aligning for a show this weekend, though clouds over Portland might block it from view.

A penumbral lunar eclipse will take place late Sunday night in Monday morning, Nov. 29 to 30, according to NASA, gradually darkening the face of the moon for more than four hours. It will be the second lunar eclipse visible in Oregon this year, following a previous penumbral eclipse in July.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth’s shadow falls over the moon, and it can only happen at a full moon when then sun, Earth and moon all align. A penumbral eclipse is much more subtle than a total or even partial eclipse, as only the lighter outer shadow of the Earth (called the penumbra) darkens the moon.

During a penumbral lunar eclipse, the moon gradually grows a little darker until the maximum eclipse, after which it gradually lightens again.

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China’s Chang’e 5 enters lunar orbit for historic attempt to return moon samples

China’s Chang’e 5 spacecraft has entered orbit around the moon ahead of an historic attempt to collect samples from the moon and return to Earth.

a close up of the moon: An artist's illustration of China's Chang'e 5 moon orbiter entering lunar orbit for the country's first moon sample-return mission.

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An artist’s illustration of China’s Chang’e 5 moon orbiter entering lunar orbit for the country’s first moon sample-return mission.

The 18,100-lb. (8,200 kilograms) Chang’e 5 launched on a Long March 5 rocket on Monday (Nov. 23) from the country’s Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on Hainan Island and reached the moon today (Nov. 28) after an 112-hour journey. 


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The Chang’e 5 orbiter module fired its main engine at 7:58 a.m. EST (1258 UTC; 8:58 p.m. Beijing time) when 249 miles (400 kilometers) away from the moon, the China Lunar Exploration Program announced just under an hour later.  

In pictures: China on the moon! A History of Chinese lunar missions

The spacecraft fired its 3,000-Newton engine for around 17 minutes. This

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Catch Monday morning’s subtle lunar eclipse

Catch Monday morning's subtle lunar eclipse
The Moon vs. the shadow of the Earth during Monday morning’s eclipse. Adapted from NASA/GSFC/F. Espenak graphic

Howling at the Moon Sunday night? Sunday night into Monday morning November 30th features not only the penultimate Full Moon for 2020, but the final lunar eclipse of the year, with a penumbral eclipse of the Moon.

The eclipse is a subtle penumbral eclipse, the fourth and final of four such eclipses in 2020 and the final lunar eclipse for the decade. The Moon won’t turn blood-red like during a total lunar eclipse: at most, expect a fine tea-colored shading to drape to Moon, with perhaps a ragged discoloration on the northwestern limb of the Moon near mid-eclipse.

The eclipse is visible in its entirety from North America, while South America sees the eclipse in progress at sunrise/moonset, and eastern Asia and Australia sees the eclipse underway at sunset/moonrise. Hawaii gets the very

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