U.S. astronauts brought back 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of rocks and soil during the Apollo program, between 1969 and 1972, while the Soviet Union collected 170.1 grams (6 ounces) of samples in 1976.
The sample will be returned to Earth, parachuting into the Siziwang Banner grassland of the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in China probably sometime in early December, says NASA. There were three successful Soviet Luna missions in the 1970s, all unmanned, which retrieved roughly 10 ounces of material from the Moon.
Soon after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, Chairman Mao Zedong pronounced "we too will make satellites".
If successful, China would become only the second country, after the USA, to put a citizen on the moon. After the samples are transferred to the returner, the ascender will separate from the orbiter-returner.
The mission is on a tight deadline because Chang'e 5 lander is solar-powered and won't be able to operate at night.
From start to finish, the mission will last more than 20 days, according to Xinhua. The stationary lander will study its environs with cameras, ground-penetrating radar, and a spectrometer.
The probe is expected to land in late November and collect material during one lunar day - equivalent to around 14 Earth days.
China's space agency is making final preparations to launch a spacecraft to the moon to collect material from the lunar surface.
"The biggest challenges ... are the sampling work on the lunar surface, take-off from the lunar surface, rendezvous and docking in the lunar orbit, as well as high-speed re-entry to Earth", said Pei, also director of the space administration's Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center.
According to the Times, Brown University geological sciences professor James W. Head III said that the findings could have "implications way beyond the moon", as scientists don't now know why the Moon managed to remain hot for at least three billion years after its formation.
The United States sent astronauts to the moon to collect samples. NASA launched its Mars mission, called Perseverance, the next week. One specific detail that scientists hope to figure out is precisely how long ago the Moon ceased having active volcanism on its surface.
Space.com has underlined that the 382 kg of moon rocks brought home by the Apollo astronauts between 1969 and 1972 are considerably older, providing a window in the deeper lunar past.
Matt Siegler, a research scientist at the Arizona-based Planetary Science Institute who is not part of Chang'e-5 mission, said the Mons Rumker volcanic area of the moon where the spacecraft is due to land is 1-2 billion years old.
China has other space goals in its sights; it aims to have a permanently manned space station in service around 2022.
China carried out its first crewed space mission in 2003 and landed a rover on the Moon in 2013, which was the first time any country had soft landed anything on the moon in almost 40 years. In January 2019, China landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon - something that had never been done before. However, the lander deviated from the intended trajectory, causing a crash-landing. The implications of any surprising findings would inform research into the history of the Moon and the Earth, as well as the formation of extraterrestrial bodies.
Earlier this year, the USA had announced the Artemis Accord on 15 May and asked countries to join the treaty to explore the Moon with a new framework.
"Although China is now taking the lead in lunar exploration through decades of independent innovation in space technologies, it has always been committed to sharing the achievements", Xinhua said in a commentary.