Astronomers discovered more than 4,000 exoplanets until now, and they are located far beyond the boundaries of our Solar System. Science has made tremendous progress in understanding how our Sun and the Universe, in general, are working.
Even so, the Moon remains under the spotlight as one of the most attractive objectives for space exploration. It’s been almost half a century since humans landed for the last time on our natural satellite, but that doesn’t stop space agencies from sending uncrewed spacecraft.
The Chang’e-5 probe lands safely on the Moon’s near side
The big announcement of the probe’s landing comes from China National Space Administration (CNSA). The touchdown occurred at around 11:00 p.m. (Beijing Time).
The Chang’e-5 bundle includes a lander, an ascender, an orbiter, and a returner. Once the spacecraft entered the circular lunar orbit 200 kilometres above the surface of our natural satellite, the lander-and-ascender pair landed at the targeted area of the Moon.
Two kilograms of lunar samples needed
The probe will be collecting the samples in just two days. Chang’e-5 is one of China’s most ambitious space missions, as it has the final goal of helping scientific studies regarding the formation and evolution of the Moon.
Dr Thomas Zurbuchen, who is NASA’s top science official, also acknowledges the importance of China’s mission, as cited by BBC:
When the samples collected on the Moon are returned to Earth, we hope everyone will benefit from being able to study this precious cargo that could advance the international science community.
The lander will drill a two-meter-deep hole and gather some soil from inside it. This will act as an archive of the Moon, as scientists believe that the bottom holds information from a billion years ago and the top can reveal data about the present day.
Chang’e-5 became China’s third probe that has successfully landed on the Moon’s surface.