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China lunar samples gifted to Russia, France

By ZHAO LEI and ZHU LIXIN in Hefei | | Updated: 2023-04-24 11:09
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Samples brought back by the Chang'e 5 mission. [Photo provided to]

China has gifted lunar samples retrieved by the Chang'e 5 mission to Russia and France to boost lunar research, according to the China National Space Administration.

The administration announced on Monday that 1.5 grams of lunar samples were presented to Russia during President Vladimir Putin's visit to China in February 2022. In return, Russia gave China a reciprocal amount from the 1970 Soviet Luna 16 mission, during President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow this March.

The administration also said that during French President Emmanuel Macron's visit earlier this month, China gifted 1.5 grams of lunar samples to France, which has cooperated with China on space exploration for several decades.

China supports the study of lunar samples and the sharing of scientific findings, and scientists from a number of countries, including the United States, Australia, France and Sweden, have all researched samples brought back by the Chang'e 5, according to the administration.

One of the world's most notable space activities in 2020, the 23-day Chang'e 5 robotic mission was China's first lunar sampling mission and one of its most sophisticated and challenging space endeavors. The landmark mission returned 1,731 grams of rock and soil to Earth on Dec 17, 2020, the first lunar samples to be returned since the Apollo era.

Before Chang'e 5, the country sent two landers and two rovers to the moon. Yutu 2, which was deployed during the Chang'e 4 mission, has become the longest-working lunar rover and continues to transmit data and images.

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