China announced plans on Tuesday to launch a space probe to bring back samples from the moon before the end of the year, in what state media cast as competition to US President Donald Trump’s ambitions to revitalize US space exploration. The Chang’e-5 lunar probe is undergoing a final round of tests and is expected to be on standby for launch from August, the official People’s Daily said. The launch will involve new challenges for China in sample collection, taking off from the moon and high-speed reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere, making it “one of China’s most complicated and difficult space missions”, Hu Hao, an official from China’s Lunar Exploration Program said. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for China to become a global power in space exploration, according to Reuters.
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