17:44 GMT20 January 2021
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    BEIJING, (Sputnik) - The lunar soil and rock samples, collected and brought back to Earth by Chinese Moon-landing mission Chang’e 5, were given to scientists for further examinations, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said on Saturday.

    The container with samples, extracted from Chang’e 5's return capsule, was formally passed on to the scientists at a ceremony organized by the CNSA in Beijing on Saturday morning.

    The samples will be made available to "terrestrial operational systems, which means the transition of Chang’e 5 from the engineering phase to the research phase," the CNSA said in a press release.

    The total amount of soil samples in the container weighed 1,731 grams (61 ounces), according to the press release.

    China's Chang'e-5 spacecraft collects lunar samples on the moon in this handout image provided by China National Space Administration (CNSA) December 3, 2020.
    © REUTERS / CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRAT
    China's Chang'e-5 spacecraft collects lunar samples on the moon in this handout image provided by China National Space Administration (CNSA) December 3, 2020.

    Chang’e 5 was launched on November 24. The mission landed on the near side of the Moon on December 1, collected samples during the next two days and headed back to Earth, landing in China's Inner Mongolia region on December 16.

    China became the third country in history after the United States and the Soviet Union to successfully perform a lunar lander-return mission.

    Tags:
    Space Exploration, lunar mission, Chang'e, China space program
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