The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) to explore the moon has several phases, with the ultimate goal of returning moon rock samples to the Earth.
In 2007, Chang'e 1 mapped the moon from orbit. After completing its mission, the spacecraft crashed into the lunar surface in 2009 as planned.
In 2014, the test capsule Chang'e-5-TI flew past the moon and looped back around to Earth to practice for an eventual lunar sample return mission.
In 2017, China is expected to launch Chang'e-5, which will land on the moon, collect up to 4 lbs. (2.2 kg) of samples, and then lift off for the return trip to Earth.
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Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork). Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web. He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.