China Moon Mission Begins A New Space Task To Collect The First Lunar Rocks In Four Decades

China is planning to launch a new unmanned spacecraft to the moon to collect lunar rocks. This space mission will be launched in the last week of November. It is considered the first effort by any country to recover samples from earth’s natural satellite in the last 40 years. This initiative has been named Chang’e-5. The mission has been named after the ancient Chinese deity of the moon. It will collect the lunar rocks from the moon, which will help scientists understand the origin and formation of the moon. Experts around the world have said that the mission will check China’s capacity to distantly obtain samples from space before many complex missions. As per the report, if this mission goes well, China will become the third country to have retrieved lunar rocks from space after the US and the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union had crash-landed the Luna 2 on the moon in 1959, which was the first human-made object to arrive at another extraterrestrial body. After the Soviet Union, a handful of countries as well had launched a moon mission including India and Japan. Under the Apollo Program, the US had been able to land 12 astronauts in six flights from 1969 to 1972. These astronauts had brought back around 382 Kgs of rocks and soil. In the 1970s, the Soviet Union had set up three robotic sample return missions. The last mission called Luna 24 had brought back around 170.1 grams of samples from Mare Crisium also known as Sea of Cries.

China is planning to retrieve around two Kgs of samples from unvisited areas across a massive lava plain, which is called Oceanus Procellarum or Ocean of Storms. Experts have said that the Apollo-Luna sample zone of the moon has been included in a region, which contains far less than half the lunar facade. The data from the orbital remote sensing mission has found a wide range variety of rock types, mineralogy, and ages as compared to the findings of the Apollo-Luna sample collections. The Chang’e-5 probe will aim to set up a pair of vehicles to the surface once in the moon’s orbit. A lander will pierce the ground and then transfer the rock and soil samples to an ascender, which will lift off and dock with a trajectory module. If this goes well, the whole samples will be moved into a return capsule, which will return these samples to earth. China has attempted its first lunar landing in 2013. In 2019, the Chang’e-4 mission has landed on the far side of the moon. It has been the first attempt by any country’s space mission.