The Chang’e-5 lunar rover, named after the moon god in ancient China, will seek to gather documents that can help scientists better understand the history and formation of the moon. The mission will test China’s ability to collect samples from space from a distance, before launching a more complex mission.
If successful, the mission would make China the only third country to collect lunar samples, following the United States and the Soviet Union over the past decade.
Since the Soviet Union landed on Luna 2 on the moon in 1959, the first man-made objects to enter a higher body, as many as a dozen other countries, including Japan and India, have explored the moon.
In the Apollo program, the first manned lunar eclipse, the United States landed 12 astronauts on six flights from 1969 to 1972, carrying about 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of rocks and soil.
The Soviet Union used three successful robotic sampling missions in the 1970s. Finally, Luna 24 collected 170.1 grams (6 ounces) of samples in 1976 from the Mare Crisium, or “Sea of Crises”.
A Chinese investigation, scheduled to launch in the coming days, will try to collect 2 kilograms (4 1/2 pounds) of samples in an previously uncovered area in the Great Lava Mountains known as the Oceanus Procellarum, or “Ocean of Storms”.
“The sample area of Apollo-Luna of the moon, while critical to our understanding, has been carried out in an area comprising less than half the size of the lunar Earth,” said a planetary scientist at Brown University.
Subsequent data from the sensation mission far from the eye showed a greater variety of rocks, minerals and ages than the Agollo-Luna sampling agent, he said.
“Lunar scientists have shuffled the mission to send robotic specimens to these many different key areas to answer the basic questions left over from the previous survey,” Head said.
The Chang’e-5 mission may help answer questions such as how long the moon has been moving inside and when its magnetic field – essential to protecting any life form from the sun – has been dissolved.
Once in the lunar orbit, the goal is to use a twin vehicle to land: the lander will drill into the ground, then transfer the soil and rock samples to the plate, which will be lifted and dragged by the orbit module.
If this is successful, the sample will be transferred to a capsule sent back to Earth.
Within the next decade, China plans to build a robotic base station to conduct unmanned reconnaissance in the Antarctic.
It was developed through the Chang’e-6 7 and 8 missions during 2020 and extended to 2030 before the unmanned landing.
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In July, China launched the first unmanned reconnaissance mission to Mars on another mission to another planet.