China to bring back moon soil in 2017
Beijing: China will send a lunar probe in 2017 that will bring back samples from the surface of the moon for research by various institutes in the country, a top Chinese scientist said.
China was also planning a probe to collect samples from Mars by 2030, Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of the lunar exploration project, was quoted as saying by the China Daily.
About the research into samples to be brought back by the Chang'e-5 probe, he said: "We will gather the strength of the whole nation for achievement of the highest level. And we will do what others haven't done yet."
China's lunar project consists of an unmanned moon exploration, a manned moon landing and building of a moon base. Currently, the country is in the first stage.
China launched its Chang'e-1 orbiter in 2007 and the Chang'e-2 in 2010. Both got a great deal of scientific data and a full high-resolution map of the moon.
The third probe, Chang'e-3, will be sent to the moon next year.
After the sampling of the moon surface to be done around 2020, China will start a manned lunar mission. But there was no clear timetable for that, Ouyang said.
The Chang'e-3 could help build a telecom network that covers a future Mars probe, he said.