- China’s ambitious mission to the Chang 5 moon has successfully reached its destination.
- The mission will take samples from the lunar surface and two meters below the surface.
- Those samples will eventually be sent to Earth for study.
NASA may be planning its own successful return to the lunar surface, but that does not prevent China from doing everything it can to prevent the US space program from being captured, but in many ways overcoming it. The latest evidence is in the form of the new Chang 5 lunar lander, which was recently launched from Earth and made a soft landing to Earth’s youngest neighbor.
Launcher Chang 5 was only part of the mission, which included an orbit, ascent and return. CGTN. As with any mission to the moon, China’s space group has a number of things it wants to accomplish, but has one goal in mind: to return samples of the lunar surface to Earth.
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Collecting samples of the lunar surface is complex in itself, but the Chang 5 mission is incredibly desirable in its objectives. For starters, the lander will sample loose material on the surface and then capture a sample from two meters below the surface. The lander will dig and capture the material, which will allow scientists to return to Earth to see the difference between objects exposed to space and lunar soil buried for millions or billions of years.
Sample collection is only the first part of a long process that ends with the return of lunar instruments to Earth. The collected samples will be placed in the ascending vehicle. Once it is packed and ready, the ascendant will fly off the lunar surface and join the orbiter and returner. The returnee, as you can imagine, will be a vehicle returning to Earth with samples. The returnee is scheduled to land in Inner Mongolia.
Assuming everything goes according to plan, this mission will bring even the United States and the former Soviet Union to China, making it the third country to successfully collect lunar samples and return them to Earth. This is a huge achievement, but it should come as no surprise to anyone paying close attention to China’s space exploration ambitions in recent years.
The country is catching up with the US, quickly examining the key goals the US has achieved over a long period of time. Meanwhile, China is going toe-to-toe with the US on new missions to Mars, making it clear that the country wants to be a leader in space exploration.