Mon. Apr 19th, 2021

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China’s rare lunar rock samples go on display in Beijing

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Lunar soil collected from China's Chang'e-5 moon mission display during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing  - WANG ZHAO /AFP

Lunar soil collected from China’s Chang’e-5 moon mission display during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing – WANG ZHAO /AFP

A 100-gram sample of lunar soil went on display last weekend at the National Museum of China.

The sample was among 1.7 kilograms of lunar debris – the first fresh samples from the moon in more than 40 years – retrieved last year by the Chang’e 5 probe.

China originally had planned to bring back 2 kilograms of samples.

The rocks are on display at the museum in an exhibit extolling China’s achievements in space.

Last year, China became the third country ever to bring such samples back, following the US and former Soviet Union.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping called it a major achievement that marked a great step forward for the country’s space industry.

He expressed hope that mission participants would continue contributing toward building China as a major space power, and national rejuvenation, state media said.

People look at lunar soil collected from China's Chang'e-5 moon mission display during an exhibition - WANG ZHAO /AFP 

People look at lunar soil collected from China’s Chang’e-5 moon mission display during an exhibition – WANG ZHAO /AFP

The successful Chang’e 5 mission was the latest in China’s increasingly ambitious space programme, that includes a robotic mission to Mars.

Wang Chunfa, the director of the museum, said the opening of the exhibit had paid great attention to building a collection that would showcase China’s major breakthroughs in science as a way to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.

“The exhibition is to ignite people’s interest in science…and to inspire people to dream, create and strive for the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation,” he said.

The exhibition also includes the space suit worn by Yang Liwei, China’s first astronaut, state media said.

Bian Fangyue, a Beijing high school student, who was among the first to see the lunar soil, told state media that the “Chang’e 5 is a project of sophistication, and retrieving lunar soil marks a great leap in our nation’s scientific development.”

“I feel honoured to be living in an era that has witnessed an achievement like this.”



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