China embarks on an ambitious mission to land on the moon and return samples to Earth

China embarks on an ambitious mission to land on the moon and return samples to Earth

China began its most ambitious lunar mission on Monday: a robotic spacecraft expected to land on the lunar surface by this weekend. The spacecraft is expected to collect about 4 pounds of rock and soil samples and send them back to Earth next month for laboratory analysis.

If successful, Chang 5 will make China the third country after the United States and the former Soviet Union to bring lunar rocks back to Earth. He was the first person to attempt this feat after Russia’s Luna 24 in 1976.

“China is showing itself to develop and successfully implement sustainable high-tech projects that are important for regional influence and global partnership,” John Johnson-Freeze, an astronaut at the U.S. Navy College of War, told the Associated Press.

A Chinese Long March 5 heavy lift booster ascends an ambitious lunar model return spacecraft from the Wensang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. This view was broadcast live on CGDN television.


To build the success of the two robot Moon rovers, a powerful Long March 5 rocket crashed at 3:30 pm – 4:30 am local time on Tuesday – and flew away from the Wensang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island in southern China. The sea.

Broadcast on television, the heavy-lift rocket showed a spectacular forecast as it rose east and flew into space.

The 8,335-pound Chang 5 spacecraft, named after the mythical goddess of the Chinese moon, is made up of four main components: a climbing vehicle mounted on a lander to bring lunar orbit, sample return craft, science tools and sample collection equipment and a small collection of surface samples back into orbit.

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An artist’s intent of the Chang 5 robot lunar model collection spacecraft on the lunar surface. Samples inside the ascending vehicle will be placed inside the ascending vehicle above the lander for return to lunar orbit and return to Earth in return capsule. Landing in Inner Mongolia is expected in mid-December.

CCTV via The Planetary Society

If all goes well, the solar-powered lander will land on the moon’s surface on Friday for 14 days across the 43 – mile – wide volcanic ridge known as Mons Ramkeroff.

The rocks and soil at the landing site are estimated to be about 1.1 billion years old, which is said to be much smaller than the rocks collected by the Apollo astronauts. Planetary Association.

James Hed, a geologist at Brown University, told China’s CCTV that “China has been doing a great job here in terms of their first prototype return mission.” We have not returned samples for 44 years, and we have many scientific questions that will help us answer the Chang 5 mission. ”

“This is a very exciting opportunity and we greatly appreciate China’s efforts in this area,” he added.

The Song 5 lander has several cameras, a spectrometer and ground-penetrating radar to assess the soil composition near the spacecraft. A robotic arm is fitted with a rhythm drill and scoop to extract excavated rock and soil.

Working by remote control from Earth, the engineers will use the hand to move the collected samples up to the boarding vehicle, which will then explode, merge with the Chang 5 orbit and convert the model back to Earth for the return journey.

Graphic Song 5 of The Planetary Society shows the four main components of the spacecraft.

Planetary Association

Landing in Inner Mongolia is expected by December 16th. From there, the samples are transferred to specially equipped laboratories for analysis.

China’s lunar exploration program began with the Chang 1 and 2 missions, which reached lunar orbits in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Following those flights சாங்’இ 3 Lunar Lander in 2013 and Song 4 landing on the Moon in 2019.

Two model return missions are planned before possible missions to land Chinese astronauts on the surface in the 2030s.

“China operates at a very high level, creating building blocks for long-term use for a wide range of tasks,” Fries-Johnson said, adding that the country’s one-party system allows “often difficult long-term political choice in democracies.

Meanwhile, NASA is pushing ahead Artemis The project aims to land the next man and the first woman on the moon in the next several years. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

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