China’s mission to Moon Chang’e 5 successfully collects samples

China’s mission to Moon Chang’e 5 successfully collects samples

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Chang’e 5 reportedly landed on the Moon’s Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on Dec. 1.
  • Local media reports said it took 19-hours for the mission to gather the samples and place them in sealed containers and package for the journey back home.
  • The site chosen for sampling by China has never been sampled before and it more geologically younger compared to the other sites exploited by the US and the former USSR.
  • The spacecraft reportedly sent colored images, what appears to be a capture of the lunar ‘soil’ just underneath the legs of the aircraft.

KOLKATA (India) — China’s Moon mission has successfully collected and sealed samples of the lunar surface in the aircraft, the China National Space Administration announced Thursday morning.

NO nations in the world successfully landed on the lunar ‘soil’ after the Soviet Union in 1976. Both India and Israel’s attempts ended up in crash landing in 2019.

The Chang’e 5 — named after the Chinese goddess of Moon — was launched from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan at 4:30 a.m (Beijing Time) — China’s first attempt to bring back lunar samples.

The Earth-to-Moon mission was designed unlike the conventional way, but in three parts, one to orbit the Moon, another part to ascend to extract lunar samples, and the other part that was responsible to bring back the sample to Earth.

Chang’e 5 reportedly landed on the Moon’s Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on Dec. 1. As per previous reports, a robotic arm was supposed to descend and extract up to two kilograms of the lunar sample.

Local media reports said it took 19-hours for the mission to gather the samples and place them in sealed containers and package for the journey back home.

James W. Head III, a geological science professor at Brown University, told the New York Times in an email that Chang’e 5 made a very precise landing “right in the middle of the most important geologic unit in the broader Chang’e 5 candidate landing region.”

The site chosen for sampling by China has never been sampled before and it more geologically younger compared to the other sites exploited by the US and the former USSR.

The colored image of the drilling sites shows a shabby ‘earth’ beneath.

Researchers say the location is comparatively younger, having mysteriously been at a molten state, far longer than the other regions. The lack of craters in the vicinity confirms the youth of the region.

According to reports, samples from the Mons Rumker may not be older than 1.3 billion years, which could unlock a never-before understanding of the history of Moon.

The spacecraft reportedly sent colored images, what appears to be a capture of the lunar ‘soil’ just underneath the legs of the aircraft.

Chang’e 5 is the third lander on Moon from China to attempt and so far successfully complete a mobile mission to the moon. Previous missions released static landers and small rovers on Moon.

Chang’e 5 will reportedly blast off for a complex return to the Earth and is supposed to parachute down on the Inner Mongolia region later this month, the NY Times reported.

A lunar research center on Moon

Future missions from China will be aimed at further exploring the Moon and ultimately setting up an international lunar research center on the lunar soil.

China’s Chang’e 6 mission in the future is expected to bring back international payloads on board and further explore the lunar surface.

The Chang’e 7 will also explore the Moon while the Chang’e 8 will explore possibilities of building a research center on the lunar-base, after a comprehensive analysis of the surface compositions, CNSA told Global Times.

“To build a research base on the Moon, we first need to figure out what it is made of, by analyzing the soil composition and geological structure, and then making use of the raw materials at hand on the Moon for our own exploration purposes,” Song Zhongping, an aerospace observer and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

NASA’s Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen congratulated China’s mission and said “we look forward to seeing how this sample return will advance the international science community.”

NASA wrote it hopes to get access to the lunar samples bought back on earth by China. “Domestic and overseas scientists will all have a chance to get the lunar samples to be brought back by Chang’e-5 for research,” Pei Zhaoyu said.

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