The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the Long March rocket carrying the Chang’e-5 probe was launched from the Wenchang Space Center in the southern island of Hainan Province at 4:30 am (2 am on Tuesday) on May 5. Named after the moon goddess. report.
Beijing is investing billions of dollars in its military space program, hoping to have a manned space station by 2022 and eventually send humans to the moon.
The purpose of this mission is to eradicate lunar rocks and soil to help scientists understand the origin, formation and volcanic activity on the lunar surface.
Video footage from the launch of the national television showed that the rocket exploded into a dark night, with huge smoke rolling down below.
The crowd watched the launch of the beach on this tropical island, and the rocket was taken from high altitude with mobile phones when it lifted off.
The mission originally scheduled for 2017 was postponed due to the failure of the Long March rocket engine on May 5.
If successful, China will be the third country to take samples from the moon after the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.
According to a report in “Nature”, the Chinese probe will collect 2 kg (4.5 lb) of surface material in a previously unexplored area called “Ocean of Storms.” Composition of lava plains.
The probe is expected to land in late November and collect materials within a lunar calendar day (equivalent to about 14 days on Earth).
According to NASA, these samples will be loaded in a space capsule and are scheduled to land in the Inner Mongolia region of northern China in early December.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said the task was technically challenging and involved many innovations not seen in previous attempts to collect moon rocks.
McDowell told Agence France-Presse: “The United States has never returned a robot sample. The Soviet Union is very limited and can only land in certain restricted locations.”
“The Chinese system will become the most flexible and powerful robotic sample return system to date.”
The Chinese lunar rover landed on the far side of the moon in January 2019. This was the first case in the world, which inspired Beijing to become a space superpower.
This is the second Chinese probe to land on the moon after the “Yutu” rover mission in 2013.
Chen Lan, an independent analyst at GoTaikonauts, who specializes in China’s space program, said that the latest launch is an opportunity for China to develop technologies for future manned space landings and described it as “one of the most risky missions to launch China.” .
“The Chang’e-5 sample return mission is of course more complicated and difficult than all previous Chinese moon landing missions, because it not only needs to take off from the lunar surface and re-enter the earth’s atmosphere at a higher speed, but it also needs to execute the moon in lunar orbit. Rendezvous and docking operations.”
The latest Chang’e-5 probe is one of a series of ambitious goals set by Beijing, including building a super powerful rocket capable of carrying heavier payloads than NASA and the private rocket company SpaceX can handle. Lunar landing base, permanent manned space station and Mars rover.
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