Beijing: A Chinese space capsule bringing back the first moon rocks in more than four decades has begun its return to Earth. The Chang'e 5 lunar probe left the moon's orbit on Sunday morning by activating four engines for about 22 minutes, the China National Space Administration said in a social media post. The mission landed on the moon earlier this month and collected about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of samples. The return capsule is expected to land in northern China in the Inner Mongolia region after a three-day journey. The material would be the first brought back since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 probe in 1976.
Meanwhile, in another world, an Indian-American is among the 18 astronauts selected by NASA for its manned mission to the Moon and beyond. Earlier this week, NASA named the 18 astronauts -- half of them women -- who will train for its Artemis moon-landing programme.
Raja Jon Vurputoor Chari, 43, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, MIT, and US Naval Test Pilot School, is the only Indian-American in the list. He was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. He reported for duty in August 2017 and having completed the initial astronaut candidate training is now eligible for a mission assignment.