These are the first image of China's Chang'e 5 landing on the Moon

CHINA'S Chang'e 5 probe has landed on the Moon, China's National Space Administration has confirmed.

PUBLISHED: 15:28, Tue, Dec 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 16:19, Tue, Dec 1, 2020

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The robotic Moon lander touched down on the lunar surface a week after blasting off from Hainan Island, South China, on November 23. A video broadcast by the state-run CCTV network appears to show the moment the probe touched down. China Science also tweeted at 3:19pm GMT: "#Breaking: The Chang'e-5 successfully landed on the near side of moon, China's National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on Tuesday."

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The Chang'e 5 probe will collect rock samples for Earth return from the Moon's Oceanus Procellarum region.

Today's (December 1) landing marks the fourth stage of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme that began in 2003, and saw the Change'3 probe land on the Moon's far side last year.

The Chang'e 5 consists of four modules, including a lander designed to scoop up lunar rock samples from about 6.6ft (2m) below the surface.

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These samples are expected to return to Earth by December 17.

READ MORE: Life on Mars: Astronauts living on Red Planet could extract water

China Moon landing: View of Chang'e landingChina Moon landing: A Chinese probe has landed on the Moon to collect rock samples (Image: CCTV)

China Moon landing: Tweet confirming touch downChina Moon landing: The Chinese probe will collect rock samples for return to Earth (Image: CHINA SCIENCE TWITTER)

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The probe was pencilled in to land near Mons Rümker, a volcanic formation in the Oceanus Procellarum region.

This part of the Moon sits in the northwest of the Moon's near side.

According to Long Xiao at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, who helped pick landing site candidates, the landing site covers two geological units of interest.

Rocks in this part of the Moon - likely similar to those collected by NASA's Apollo programme - are expected to

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