Successful Chinese mission Chang’e 5 that saw the collection of lunar rock samples later transported to Earth.
Success for Chang’e 5
The Chang’e 5 mission saw the departure of a module with an orbiter and a lander; while the first remained to orbit the moon, the second landed on the moon and collected some lunar samples.
These samples were transported to the orbiter while the lander, after performing its task, crashed on the surface of the moon itself.
The Chinese Chang’e-5 probe, with the lunar samples, landed in the Siziwang area of Inner Mongolia in the early hours of Thursday local time.
The capsule, separated earlier from its orbiting module performed a bounce over Earth’s atmosphere to reduce its speed before crossing it and floating on parachutes.
This is an important mission because they are the first samples of lunar rocks brought back to Earth in several decades.
Next Chang’e 6 mission
The next mission, Chang’e 6, is expected to see launch in 2023.
Again, lunar samples will be collected but will be taken in a much less explored region such as the lunar south pole.
The following missions under the Chang’e projects will then conduct detailed investigations to understand what technologies will be needed to build China’s first space base on the Moon.
The collected samples
Meanwhile, the samples, represented by about 2 kg of materials collected both from the surface and through the drilling of the soil of almost two meters have already arrived at the laboratories of the Chinese space program in Beijing.
These rocks, scientists theorize, should be billions of years younger than those collected by the U.S. and Soviets during the 60s and 70s of the last century as they come from a young area of the lunar surface, called Oceanus Procellarum.
The samples will be analyzed and some of them could be shared with scientists in other countries.