The Chinese authorities announced the launch of an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon – the device will collect lunar rock samples. No country has undertaken such missions since the 1970s.
China will launch an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon to collect lunar rocks for further exploration. The Change-5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese moon goddess, should collect material so that scientists can gain more information about the origin and formation of the Earth’s satellite. The mission will test China’s technical ability to receive samples from space remotely.
If the mission succeeds, China will become the third country that could collect and deliver lunar samples to Earth (the other two countries are the USA and the USSR). The Chinese probe, scheduled to launch in the coming days, will attempt to collect 2 kg of samples from a previously unvisited area in the massive lava plain called the Ocean of Storms.
Scientists hope this orbital study will help show various rock types, minerals, and older rocks from the moon’s surface.
China made its first lunar landing in 2013. China plans to get samples from Mars by 2030. In July, China launched an unmanned probe to Mars on its first independent mission to another planet.
The Soviet Union was the first to land on the moon in 1959. Ten years later, the Americans launched the Apollo program and in three years took 382 kg of rock and soil samples from the Earth satellite. The USSR completed three successful robotic missions to the satellite, in two of which they managed to extract about 270 grams of lunar rock.