China's Chang'e 5 lander has successfully landed on the surface of the Moon, state media reported on Tuesday.
The probe landed in a planned landing area, the official China News Service said, citing space officials. The one-sentence report gave no further details.
The spacecraft Long-March-5, carrying the small lander, was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the southern Chinese island of Hainan on November 24. It will stay on the surface of the Moon for two weeks, or one lunar day, to gather samples.
The Chang'e 5 mission, if successful, will be the first time Moon rocks and debris are brought to Earth since a 1976 Soviet mission.
The mission’s main task is to drill 2 metres into the Moon’s surface and scoop up about 2 kilogrammes of rocks and other matter. The lander will deposit them in an ascender. A return capsule will deliver them back to Earth, landing on the grasslands of the Inner Mongolia region by mid-December.
"Pulling off the Chang'e 5 mission would be an impressive feat for any nation," said US expert Stephen Clark of the publication Spaceflight Now.
China now has four spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. Chang'e 3 arrived in 2013 and Chang'e 4 and Yutu 2 in 2019.
The latest flight includes collaboration with the European Space Agency, which is helping to monitor the mission.