The Chang’-5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, will try to collect material that can help scientists understand more about the origin and formation of the moon. The mission will test China’s ability to obtain samples from space, ahead of more complex missions.
If this was successful, the mission would make China only the third country to reclaim it as a third sample before the decade of the United States and the Soviet Union.
Since the Soviet Union crashed Luna 2 on the moon in 1959, the first man-made object to reach another celestial body, Japan and some other countries, including India, have launched moon missions.
In the Apollo program, which put the first men on the moon, the United States landed 12 astronauts in six flights from 1969 to 1972, bringing back 382 kg (842 lb) of rocks and mud.
The Soviet Union deployed three successful robotic sample return missions in the 1970s. The last, Luna 24, obtained 170.1 grams (6 ounces) of samples from the 1976 Mare Crimeum, or “Sea of Crys”.
The China investigation is scheduled to begin in the coming days, collecting 2 kilograms (4 1/2 pounds) of samples in an already unfamiliar area in a huge lava field known as the Oceanus Procellarum, or “Ocean of Stroms”. Will try
James Head, a planetary scientist at Brown University, said, “The Apollo-Luna sampling area of the Moon, which is important to our understanding, was done in an area that covers less than half the lunar surface.”
Subsequent data from the Orbital-Remote Sensing mission have shown a wider variety of rock types, minerals, and ages than are represented in the Apollo-Luna sample collection.
“Lunar scientists are advocating a robot’s sample return mission in these various critical areas to address a host of basic questions left over from earlier explorations,” said Head.
The Chang’-5 mission can help answer questions such as how long the moon was internally active and when its magnetic field – important to protect any form of life from the sun’s radiation – disintegrates.
Once in the Moon’s orbit, the probe will aim to deploy a pair of vehicles to the surface: a lander will drill into the ground, then transfer its soil and rock samples onto an ascending one that is closed and docked with a orbiting module. Will do.
If this is successful, the samples will be transferred to a return capsule that will return them to Earth.
Within the next decade, China plans to establish a robotic base station to carry out unmanned exploration in the South Polar region.
It is to be developed through the Chang’e-6 7 and 8 missions through 2020 and expanded through the Mending Landing during the 2030s.
China plans to receive samples from Mars by 2030.
In July, China launched an unmanned probe into Mars in its first independent mission.