Science and Nature

Five things to know about China’s Chang’e 5 mission to retrieve lunar rocks

Five things to know about China’s Chang’e 5 mission to retrieve lunar rocks thumbnail

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

December 3, 2020 11:25:08 am

A Long March-5 rocket carrying the Chang’e 5 lunar mission (AP File Photo

China landed its spacecraft Chang’e-5 on the moon in a bid to become the first to retrieve lunar samples in more than four decades. The probe has everyone’s attention as it will help scientists understand Earth’s solitary natural satellite’s origins. There is a lot to know about the mission. Here are a few facts about the historic mission from China that can be a big leap forward.

# Chang’e-5 spacecraft ”stack” that was launched from Wenchang, Southern China on November 24. One part of the spacecraft stayed in the Moon’s orbit whereas the lander touched down.

# As per China National Space Administration’s announcement, Chang’e-5 has touched down on the north of the Mons Rümker in Oceanus Procellarun which is also called Ocean of Storms which is situated on the near side of the moon. Mons Rümker is an isolated volcanic formation on the moon.

# The lander module of the Chang’e-5 is meant to collect two kilograms of lunar rocks. The task will be accomplished by spending up to 48 hours on the moon’s surface. This will be done by drilling underground followed by scooping and sealing it in a container to be brought back to the Earth.

The lander is also equipped with a spectrometer, radar and a camera to help with the extraordinary task. 44 years ago, 200 grams of lunar samples were received under the Soviet Luna 24 mission. Chang’e-5 will be collecting 10 times more samples than the previous mission.

# A major difference between the samples collected before and the ones that will be collected now will be 1.2 billion years old compared to the earlier ones that were three billion years old.

# Chang’e-5 is expected to make its way back to the blue planet on December 16-17. The return could be delayed a bit too depending upon various factors that come into play. China is aiming for inner Mongolia as the spot for spacecraft’s landing.

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