A Chinese spacecraft lifted from the moon with a lunar rock on Thursday night, the first phase of a return to Earth, the government space agency reported. Chang 5, theThe first to come out of it again is the latest in a growing range For Beijing’s space program, there is an orbit and rover to Mars.
Just before raising the climbing vehicle, the space government described Lander as the first Chinese flag to stand free on the moon. The agency posted a picture while the engines of the boarding vehicle were flying – apparently taken from the lander.
The spacecraft “abbreviated the five-star red national flag and made a real flag made of fabric, marking the first time in the nation’s aerospace history.” State media said.
Chang’e 5 The storm touched the sea near the moon on Tuesday. Its purpose: to collect about 4 pounds of lunar rocks and bring them back to Earth, the first samples since the Soviet spacecraft was launched in the 1970s. Earlier, US Apollo astronauts brought back hundreds of pounds of lunar rocks.
The landing site is near the formation of Mons Rumker, which may contain rocks that are billions of years older than previously recovered.
The Chinese National Space Administration said the samples were transferred to the capsule because the vehicle, which took off from the moon just after 11pm on Thursday (1500 GMT) Beijing time, collided with a vehicle returning to lunar orbit. The rocks and debris of the moon were sealed inside a special canister to avoid pollution.
It is not clear when the linkup will occur. After delivery, the ascending module is ejected and the capsule remains in lunar orbit for about a week, waiting for the optimal time to return to Earth.
The capsule containing the samples is expected to land on Earth by the end of the month, Chinese officials said. Touchdown is planned for the grasslands of Inner Mongolia as Chinese astronauts return to the Shenzhou spacecraft.
The Chang 5’s launcher was capable of taking samples from the surface and drilling 2 meters (approximately 6 feet).
Although its main task was to retrieve samples, the lander was set up to extensively photograph the terrain, map the situation with underground penetrating radar, and analyze lunar soil for minerals and water content.
Chang 5 revived the discussion that China would one day send astronauts to the moon and build a scientific base there, although no timeline has been set for such projects.
China launched the first temporary orbital laboratory in 2011 and the second in 2016. Plans call for a permanent space station after 2022, perhaps to be serviced on a reusable spacecraft.
As China enhances cooperation with the European Space Agency and others, U.S. concerns about the secretive nature and close military ties of the Chinese program have been severely limited. On Tuesday, NASA Science Director Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted a congratulatory message to China after the spacecraft landed on the moon.
China is taking a more proactive approach to the lunar program to develop and test propulsion, guidance, navigation, and landing systems needed for long-term exploration.
The Chang 1 and 2 missions reached lunar orbit in 2007 and 2010, respectively, followed by the Chang 3 lunar lander and Chang-4 in 2013.Chang 5 is the first of two sample return missions planned and China’s largest lunar mission to date.
Bill Harwood contributed to this report.
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