China launched an ambitious mission on Tuesday to bring back material from the moon's surface for the first time in more than 40 years - an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally.
Chang’e 5 — named for the Chinese moon goddess — is the country’s boldest lunar mission yet.
Minutes after liftoff, the spacecraft separated from the rocket’s first and second stages and slipped into Earth-moon transfer orbit. About an hour later, Chang’e 5 opened its solar panels to provide its independent power source.
Spacecraft typically take three days to reach the moon.