back to article China's Chang'e-5 lands on the Moon to scratch surface

China's Chang'e-5 probe has successfully landed on the Moon following its separation and descent from a spacecraft in lunar orbit. The news was trumpeted by Chinese state media and confirmed by enthusiasts looking out for signals from the spacecraft. #Breaking: The Chang'e-5 successfully landed on the near side of moon, China …

  1. DJ

    May I be the first to say

    Welcome to the 1960's!

    1. Vulch

      Re: May I be the first to say

      China may be far behind the Soviet/Russian space programme when it comes to automated docking, but it appears they beat the USA by a few years.

      (Russia 1967, ESA 2008, China 2011, USA 2019. Corrections welcome, NASA did try an automated docking earlier but it failed and I can't spot a reflight)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: May I be the first to say

        I thought Americans were the space docking aficionados.

        1. Geoff May (no relation)

          Space docking

          Is that like Space Trucking but for ships?

        2. Martin Gregorie

          Re: May I be the first to say

          The Americans may have been keen on docking, but that was all manually flown. The first successful American docking was in 1966 (Neil Armstrong, Gemini 8) but that was flown manually. NASA continued to use manual docking throughout the Apollo, SkyLab and Space Shuttle programs.

          The Russians had an automated docking system up and running first. Its first use was in 1967 and they have used automated docking systems ever since. The only change has the replacement of their original Igla docking system by the current Kurs system.

          AFAIK the first US automated docking occurred as part of the first manned SpaceX Crew Dragon 2 mission to the ISS earlier this year.

          1. Vulch

            Re: May I be the first to say

            The crew Dragon unmanned DM-1 last year was the first I could find, just beat the MEV docking in GEO where both participants were unmanned.

        3. Dave559 Silver badge

          Re: May I be the first to say

          "I thought Americans were the space docking aficionados."

          Shurely this is one time where Britain actually wins as secret agent par excellence James Bond holds that particular title?

          - My God, what's Bond doing?

          - I think he's attempting re-entry, sir.

    2. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: May I be the first to say

      Old Chinese saying: if you want to surpass your competitors you first have to get alongside them.

      I believe what the Chinese are doing is sensible: first redo what Apollo has done, then move on toward something beyond Apollo, such as a manned Mars flyby..

      1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

        Re: May I be the first to say

        "such as a manned Mars flyby.."

        But who will be nominated for the 1 way trip ?

        1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

          Re: May I be the first to say

          A manned Mars flyby is relatively easy.

          The genius is that upstaging a manned Mars flyby will be very difficult indeed, since you'd have to land on Mars and stay there for over a year, launch from the surface and fly back home.

  2. krf

    Notice the difference between the old US missions and the Chinese? Not to wish them ill - anybody doing space stuff is great in my books. But...

    The US put their missions on live TV, to show both failures and successes as they happened. The Chinese made sure that it successfully landed before announcing it. A little insecurity there, it would seem.

    1. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Yep, their government/dictator are a shower of cunts. But the Chinese people who worked on this are more or less the same as the engineers in Russia, Europe, India, USA who accomplished similar. Dedicated, educated, intelligent and hard working.

      Fair play to them, I wish these folk all the best and many future successes.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Absolutely on both counts. A glass of Tsingtao for the boffins, an empty glass for the Xi.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          NASA's finest hour

          It's not so different from the US. We happily talk about NASA's fine achievements, but tend to avoid mentioning that when Neil and Buzz did land on the Moon, they were congratulated by President... Nixon.

          So congratulations to the Chinese Space Program. It's a great achievement.

          1. A.A.Hamilton

            Re: NASA's finest hour

            Yes, it IS a great achievement, notwithstanding the possibly inappropriate comparisons with others nations. What I don't understand, or like, at all, is the deliberate use of the wholly unnecessary snide verb verb 'trumpeting' in the original article. The men and women whose efforts lead to this achievement are just as 'good' as any from the west and are deserving of accolades irrespective of what we have been taught to think about their government and its officers.

            1. iron Silver badge

              Re: NASA's finest hour



              gerund or present participle: trumpeting


              play a trumpet.

              "a jazz band trumpeted on the stage behind, and the kids danced until dark"


              proclaim widely or loudly.

              Any snide bias is entirely yours.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: NASA's finest hour

            Original AC again: I should have added another point about NASA and its great achievements in the 60s. Many of them were due to Wernher von Braun and his fellow countrymen. Their past (and their politics) were, shall we say, a little problematic?

            Does reading about the horrors suffered by the slaves at Peenemunde invalidate what NASA achieved?

            1. Dave559 Silver badge

              Re: NASA's finest hour

              "Does reading about the horrors suffered by the slaves at Peenemunde invalidate what NASA achieved?"

              Interestingly, Apple TV's alternative-history drama series "For All Mankind" (where the USSR landed cosmonauts on the moon first) asks that very question (although it doesn't really answer it).

              I enjoyed the series very much; it's well worth watching if you have any interest in space exploration, in my opinion. Whether it's quite enough to justify spending money on an Apple TV subscription if you don't have a free one is perhaps another question, however.

      2. stiine Silver badge

        If you were to read over their shoudlers, i bet the plans on monitor #1 were from NASA, monitor #2 from ESA, and monitor #3 from Roscosmos.

        1. IGotOut Silver badge

          " i bet the plans on monitor #1 were from NASA, monitor #2 from ESA, and monitor #3 from Roscosmos."

          Well considering the last time NASA did this a computer filed an entire room and most of it was done with a pen and paper, I doubt it.

      3. Mark Exclamation

        Yep, for the engineers and scientists on this project, I hope it is a complete success, and I applaud their ingenuity. For the government and the politicians, I hope it crashes and burns, and I hope they do, too.

      4. Tom 7 Silver badge

        To bring the Chinese government into gives credence to lunatic leaders claiming world beating firsts as somehow being due to them rather than despite them.

    2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      The Russians were somewhat coy about their launches and landings too, before they did the joint mission with NASA which had the two countries' spacecraft docking over Bognor Regis. The USA's missions were run by the civilian body NASA, so could not be so secret (although the DoD's shuttle launches and landings were not televised, I believe).

      I imagine that the Chinese space program could possibly use this as a test to try to return samples from the surface of Mars in the next few years.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        The Soviets were secretive about everything because they were trying to hide their weakness. The Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact were no match for NATO and the United States, but by keeping everything under wraps people and politicians in the West began to make up their own reality and imagined a Communist takeover.

        I'm pretty sure the Russians were never really sure that if war broke out that they could rely on Warsaw Pact allies like Poland and Hungary to do their part. They might've simply turned around and started fighting the Soviet forces.

        The Soviets did have nukes, but only a very limited number and even fewer rockets to deliver them. But in the West people imagined the Soviets cranking out nukes and rockets like "sausages" (Khrushchev's quote).

        That and the Military Industrial Complex who were always talking up the Soviet threat kept us in a costly arms race for well over half a century.

        1. Bear

          I think the EU has the same feeling about Poland and Hungary – that they are not entirely reliable.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No, they did an endless series of press conferences spanning the whole mission, which didn't get reported in the west:

      The moon is kinda boring. You have to send people, with sad-backstories, to be TV worthy these days.

      [added]Just spitballing here: "I'm a celebrity get me out of here special", winner gets to come back. A rating winner!

    4. mmm_yeah
      Thumb Down

      > The US put their missions on live TV, to show both failures and successes as they happened.

      Chang'e 5's launch was publicly aired, as were most other high-profile Chinese space missions. I'm not sure how the landing could have been put "on live TV" though.

      > The Chinese made sure that it successfully landed before announcing it.

      Should they claim a success before they have confirmed it?

      > A little insecurity there, it would seem.

      Nah, bro. Just admit you're just a racist pig who wish to see them fail.

    5. Lars Silver badge

      The landing was on the far side of the moon, also not so sure the equipement needed is worth the possible "propaganda" value.

      And lets not forget China had an advanced culture long before anybody spoke English.

    6. Potemkine! Silver badge

      No picture of the landing in the media. Is there no camera on board? I doubt it.

      China like to do things secretly. Dictatorships are paranoid.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    India too

    It came so close a few months back. Another attempt due next year.

    1. mark4155

      Re: India too

      Is this the same India that got a handout from this spineless government of £98 million (2018/2019 and 2019/2020 combined *)

      At home, thousands of hard working families are really struggling to make ends meet, I'm one of them. You have 25,000 workers in Arcadia and Debenhams (RIP) on their last paypacket with tax deductions, which also covers a contribution to overseas aid.

      Charity must begin at home, a rocket from India or food on the UK tables, You decide.

      Toodle Pip!

      * Department For International Development UK.GOV.UK (AKA The soft touch brigade)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: India too

        Apart from the fact that the Indian Govt doesn't get any UK aid - although we do spend on aid to India which isn't exactly the same.

        Exactly where do you put your boundaries? Presumably not at the front door of Marks Towers? So 'home' is county? country? nation?. And how do we balance relative levels of need? Should danger of death trump economic hardship? Presumably you are just as upset about the money spent on donkey sanctuaries in the UK (£48 million in 2018 for just one Donkey charity)?

        Given that all the cr*p that our current Govt is lining us up for from 1st January is meant to be about global Britain and trade, investing modest amounts in helping the development of markets in potential partners might just be quite a good idea?

      2. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: India too


        If you are that concern about money going abroad, maybe you wouldn't if worked for a tax dodging scumbag?

        I feel sorry for everyone loosing their jobs (I was very close a few months ago), but taking the moral high ground when helping shit bag con artists make money, is hardly appealing.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: India too

        The UK government aid for India is for basic infrastructure - water, sanitation, etc.

        While the Indian government is spending roughly an equivalent amount of their money on a rocket industry.

        So, in completely economic terms, the UK has offshored their rocket industry, with none of the kudos or scientific benefits.

  4. Elledan

    Miniature Apollo Mission

    Part of me thinks that the coolest thing about the Chang'e 5 mission is that it's essentially a step-by-step retread of the Apollo missions, only in miniature (well, a bit smaller). One major change being that they didn't have to do the weird flip of the lander with the command module before reaching lunar orbit as was the case with the Apollo missions.

    It's also great to see the Chinese space agency working together with ESA on the tracking of the mission, while providing more live coverage of the launch and landing than ever before. It's a good sign of less paranoia and distrust from both sides.

    1. Mike Flex

      Re: Miniature Apollo Mission

      > a step-by-step retread of the Apollo missions, only in miniature (well, a bit smaller)

      And without the people.

    2. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Miniature Apollo Mission

      Hope they don't want to use any Australian tracking stations. I suppose we could always allow it, with an appropriate tariff, of course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Miniature Apollo Mission

        Our deep space tracking station (just down the road from me, outside Canberra) is funded by NASA so I don't think we'd be able to put a tariff on it.

  5. Keven E

    2kg... (including samples from 2 metres down)

    That doesn't seem all that heavy, but it does seem deep, eh?

    1. ghp

      Re: 2kg... (including samples from 2 metres down)

      Let's hope they don't dig up a novel virus, and bring it home.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: 2kg... (including samples from 2 metres down)

      As Twisted Sister once said "I wanna rock, I want 2 rocks!"

      Curious what it'll be collecting, ie will it be effectively a 2m core sample. Which I guess could provide a useful foundation for potential lunar bases. I look forward to seeing the results from studying the samples anyway. It's something I find both fascinating and slightly disappointing. So I started reading SF as a kid, and the idea of mysterious new elements later became tempered by boring reality.. But that's still fascinating, ie how the Moon formed, and how it's geology and mineral content differs from Earths. And the same applies to Mars & how potential colonies could become self-sufficient.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: 2kg... (including samples from 2 metres down)

      I hope they remembered the moon has less gravity than the earth. Wouldnt want it pulling the parachute off when it comes in as 12kg!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2kg... (including samples from 2 metres down)


        Mass! It's mass! If it's in kg it's mass! It doesn't matter if it's on the Moon it's still the same mass!

        I am ashamed that I have fallen for your troll, and can only applaud your brilliance.

  6. 0laf

    Putting politics aside (very hard with space stuff) congratuations to the hardworking engineers and scientists of the Chinese space programme.

  7. JCitizen


    Video or it didn't happen!!

  8. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    what does the article mean by `trumpted by the Chinese media`?

    Going to the moon IS a big deal for any country, of course media is going to cover it.

    If this was any other country, say, UK, would he write the same garbage?

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