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 2010, Chang'e 2 orbited the moon, then left orbit to swing past an asteroid and then explore deeper into space.
Moon Photos by China's Chang'e 2 Lunar Orbiter (Gallery)
In 2013, Chang'e 3 with the Yutu rover became the first Chinese spacecraft to land on the moon. [Chang'e 3 Launch Photos]
Chang'e 3 Photos: China's 1st Moon Lander & Rover Mission
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.
China's First Round-trip Moon Mission in Pictures
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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