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China's Chang'e-5 Mission to Moon 2020 explained

Tulika Tandon

China launched its ambitious robotic lunar mission, Chang’e 5 on November 23, 2020, from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan. The mission was launched at 3:30 pm through a Long March 5 rocket. Take a look below for the importance, benefits, and other details of the lunar mission. 

  • Chang’e 5 Mission: Significance 

If successful Chang’e 5 would collect pristine moon samples and return back to Earth in mid-December. This is something that hasn’t been done since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission was launched in 1976.

  • Chang’e 5 Mission: About Mission

Spacecraft details: Chang’e 5 is an 8,200 kilograms spacecraft and is one of its kind. It has four modules including a lander, an ascent vehicle, a service module, and an attached Earth-return capsule. Chang’e 5 lander is solar-powered and is not able to operate once night falls at its location.

The job of the stationary lander would be to study its environment using the installed cameras along with ground-penetrating radar and a spectrometer. However, the main job would be to collect around 2 kg of lunar material by even digging up to 6.5 feet of the lunar surface. The process would be completed by the end of two weeks or one lunar day. 

Mission details: The mission would most likely arrive in lunar orbit on November 28, 2020, and send two of its four modules that is a lander and an ascent vehicle to the moon’s surface in a day or two. 

It would be landing in the Mons Rumker area of a volcanic plain called Oceanus Procellarum or the Ocean of Storms. Some portions of this have been explored by a number of other surface missions such as NASA’s Apollo 12.

The lander would then transfer the samples collected to the ascent vehicle, which would launch them to lunar orbit to combine with the other two mission elements, a service module, and an attached Earth-return capsule. The material collected from the moon is scheduled to return to the surface of the Earth by December 16 or 17, 2020. 

  • Chang’e 5 Mission: What’s Unique

Chang’e 5, is China’s first-ever sample-return mission and is the sixth and most ambitious mission in the series of Chang’e program of robotic lunar research. It is named after a moon goddess in Chinese mythology.

Earlier China launched the Chang’e 1 orbiter in 2007 and Chang’e 2 orbiters in 2010.  Also, Chang’e 3 lander-rover duo touched down on the moon’s near side in December 2013.

Also Read: Chandrayaan-2, India's second Moon mission: All you need to know

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