China to Collect Its Own “Moon Rocks” (Slideshow)

BEIJING (KRON) — China says it plans to bring samples from the moon back to the earth in the next few years.

China’s space program is reveling in the success of its current “Change 3” mission which landed a rover on the lunar surface earlier this year.

China’s Change 3 Mission Slideshow

The next step will be to bring samples back from the moon for scientific examination on earth

“The program’s third phase will be more difficult because many breakthroughs must be made in key technologies, such as moon surface takeoff, sampling encapsulation, rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit, and high-speed Earth re-entry…which are all new to China,” Wu Zhijian, a spokesman for China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, said.

It’s unclear what the Chinese hope to learn from the soil samples beyond what scientists learned from the “moon rocks” American Apollo astronauts returned with.

Chinese officials say they are determined to catch up with the rest of the world in the “space race.”

“Despite current progress, China still lags behind space giants like the United States and Russia in many aspects,” Wu said. “We need to work harder and move faster.”

A NASA official says the U.S. “salutes any nation’s steps into space.”

(Copyright 2013, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)

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