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China says probe sent to retrieve lunar rocks lands on moon

Flames and exhaust trail behind a Long March-5 rocket carrying the Chang'e 5 lunar mission after it lifted off at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in ...

Flames and exhaust trail behind a Long March-5 rocket carrying the Chang'e 5 lunar mission after it lifted off at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in ...

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese robot probe launched to return lunar rocks to Earth landed on the moon Tuesday, the government announced.

The Chang'e 5 probe “successfully landed on the moon in the pre-selected landing area,” the official China News Service said, citing space officials. The one-sentence report gave no more details.

The probe, launched Nov. 24 from the tropical southern island of Hainan, adds to a string of increasingly bold missions by a Chinese space program that aims eventually to land a human on the moon.

Plans call for the robot lander to drill into the lunar surface and load 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of rocks and debris into an ascent stage that will blast off to return them to Earth.