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News > China

China's Spacecraft Lands on Moon To Retrieve Samples

  • Chang'e-5 spacecraft landing on the moon, Dec. 1, 2020.

    Chang'e-5 spacecraft landing on the moon, Dec. 1, 2020. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 2 December 2020
Opinion

The Change 5 lander will carry out 48 hours of work on the surface of the moon.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced that Change 5 spacecraft successfully landed on the near side of the moon late Tuesday.

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On Nov. 24, China launched the Change 5 spacecraft, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender, and a returner.

At 10:57 p.m., the lander-ascender combination of Change 5, from about 15 km above the lunar surface, started a powered descent with a variable thrust engine ignited. Its relative vertical velocity to the moon was lowered from 1.7 km per second to zero.

The probe was adjusted and approached the lunar surface during the descent. After automatically detecting and identifying obstacles, the probe selected the site and touched down on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum on the near side of the moon.

During the landing process, the cameras aboard the lander took images of the landing area, said the CNSA. Under ground-control, the lander carried out a series of status checks and settings, preparing for around 48 hours of work on the surface of the moon.

About 2 kg of samples are expected to be collected and sealed in a container. Then the ascender will take off and dock with the orbiter-returner combination in orbit. After the samples are transferred to the returner, the ascender will separate from the orbiter-returner.

The orbiter is expected to carry the returner back to Earth. The returner is scheduled to reenter the atmosphere and land at Siziwang Banner in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

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