China's most sophisticated and challenging space adventure – the Chang'e 5 robotic lunar mission – ended successfully on 17th December 2020 with its load of rocks and dust from the moon landing on the grasslands in northern China. The mission's results will contribute to deepening mankind's understanding of the origin of the moon and the evolution of the solar system, and give a stronger boost to the peaceful use of space and the building of a shared future for humanity.
In order to improve scientific research and international cooperation, China published its Regulations on the Management of Lunar Samples (attached) on 18th January 2021, which developed by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The document has nine chapters and 37 clauses, governing the storage, management and use of lunar samples brought back by the country's Chang'e 5 mission.
In terms of international cooperation, the document stipulates that the samples' distribution will be in accordance with international treaties China has signed or taken part in. Meanwhile, the China National Space Administration has encouraged researchers at home and abroad to use the samples in joint studies on space science and to share their findings with each other.
In this regard, after active consultation with China Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center (CLEP), consensus has been achieved on the way of organization and administration that the involvement of experts from APSCO Member States to participate in the scientific research teams of lunar sample will be organized by APSCO Secretariat and also the relevant training activities will be held by Secretariat and CLEP.
1.Which organization is responsible for the management of lunar samples?
China National Space Administration (CNSA) is the overall administrative organization for lunar samples. CNSA has further tasked China Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center (CLEP) to carry out specific management work, including the release of sample-related information, establishment of the expert committee on lunar sample, the review of loan applications on using sample, and the supervision of the whole process of sample usage.
2.Where the information about lunar samples can be found?
CLEP will publish detailed information of samples on www.clep.org.cn and review the loan applications on using samples. At the same time, important information will be released through the website of CNSA, the official WeChat account and Weibo account of CLEP.
3.Can foreign users (interested and relevant institutions/organizations) borrow lunar samples?
The management and usage of lunar samples shall comply with the relevant international treaties China has signed or taken part in. CNSA encourages international joint research on lunar samples, and foreign users (interested and relevant institutions/organizations) may apply to CLEP for borrowing the lunar samples in accordance with the procedures and requirements stipulated in the Procedures for Requesting Lunar Samples.
4.What are the management requirements for the research results of lunar samples?
“Lunar samples provided by the China National Space Administration (CNSA)” should be marked for conducting research activities related to lunar samples, such as publishing academic papers or applying for intellectual property rights. Also, the sample numbers used should be indicated. The research results should be reported to CLEP within three months.
How APSCO Member States can join
1.CLEP will establish an expert committee on lunar samples which will evaluate the application on joint research submitted by scientists/institutions/other organizations and approve the qualified application to formulate the research team on lunar samples. APSCO secretariat will keep close coordination and communication with CLEP to find out the relevant information and procedures etc.
2.CLEP will share detailed information with APSCO Secretariat timely once the joint research teams are set. Also, CLEP will support and help APSCO Secretariat to proceed the procedures to allow experts from Member States to participate in the joint research teams. The leads of research teams can either be experts from China or other countries.
3.APSCO Secretariat shall assist MS for applying to join the research teams and work in China, for the interested experts/institutions from Member States.
4.APSCO and CLEP will also organize the relevant capacity-building activity like training on the usage of apparatus, data analysis on lunar samples and so on.
5.APSCO Secretariat shall share further information with member States, as soon as it is available from CLEP.
6.For more information on Chang’e 5 Mission Returning Sample, following sites can be visited:
Attached you can find relevant documents for more information: