On November 29th, an email sent to NASA has confirmed that researchers would be able to apply to to the China National Space Administration (CNSA) for access to lunar samples from China’s Chang’e-5 mission.
In the email, NASA has “certified it’s intent to congress to allow NASA-funded researchers to apply to the China National Space Administration for access to lunar samples returned to Earth on the Chang’e-5 mission”
The mission, which launched in late 200, collected 1,731 grams of material from the area of the moon called Oceanus Procellarum, using a scoop and drill. When researchers took a look at these samples, they later confirmed they are about 2 billion years old.
China said it would eventually make the lunar samples available internationally, after Chinese researchers and institutions were able to see them. China also said researchers across the world can apply until December 22, 2023 to have access. Now that NASA has access to the these samples, Interested researchers are asked to contact a NASA official for guidance on how to gain access.
In the end, we are all in the space race together. We need to use all the tools each country has to further gain knowledge about the universe around us.