A Chinese spacecraft landed on the moon on Thursday night, the first stage of its return to Earth, the state-run space agency said. Chang 5, dAnd the first to reload from it, is the latest in a growing series For Beijing’s space program, which also has a bit of a rover and a rover that goes to Mars.
Just before the launch vehicle landed, the lander landed what the space administration called the first empty Chinese flag on the moon. The agency published a picture – apparently taken from the lander – of the climbing vehicle coming down while firing its own engine.
The spacecraft “hoisted the five-star red national flag, made of a truly authentic fabric, the first landmark in the country’s aerospace history.” State media said.
Chang 5 touched the ocean of storms near the moon on Tuesday. Its mission: Collect about 4 pounds of lunar rocks and bring them back to Earth, the first return of the specimen by a Soviet spacecraft since 1970. Earlier, US Apollo astronauts returned hundreds of pounds of moon rocks.
The landing site is close to a shape called the Mons Runker and may have included rocks billions of years ago.
According to China’s National Space Administration, the ascending spacecraft landed on the moon shortly after 11 a.m. Beijing time (1500 GMT) and was about to bow to the vehicle returning to the lunar horoscope, followed by the National Space Administration. The samples were converted into capsules. Moon rocks and debris were sealed inside a special box to prevent contamination.
It was not clear when the linkup would take place. After transfer, exit the climbing module. Will be given and the capsule will remain in the center of the moon for about a week, waiting for the best time to travel back to Earth.
Chinese officials say the sampled capsule is due to land on Earth around the middle of the month. The touchdown is planned for the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, where Chinese astronauts have returned to the Shenzhou spacecraft.
Chang 5’s lander, which landed on the moon, was able to extract samples from the surface and drill 2 meters (about 6 feet).
While its main task was to obtain samples, the lander was able to take extensive photographs of the area, map underground conditions with underground radar, and analyze lunar soils for minerals and water content. Was done.
Chang 5 has revived the idea of one day sending astronauts to China’s moon and possibly building a scientific base there, although no timeline has been proposed for such projects.
China launched its first temporary mobile laboratory in 2011 and its second in 2016. Plans call for a permanent space station after 2022, possibly to be serviced by a reusable spacecraft.
While China is expanding cooperation with the European Space Agency and others, talks with NASA are severely hampered by concerns about the US military process and the close military ties with Chinese programs. On Tuesday, NASA’s director of science, Thomas Zurbuchen, tweeted a congratulatory message to China after the spacecraft landed on the moon.
China is implementing an augmented approach to its lunar programs, launching a series of sophisticated robotic spacecraft to develop and test the prototyping, guidance, navigation and landing systems required for long-term exploration.
The Chang 1 and 2 missions successfully orbited the moon in 2007 and 2010, respectively, followed by Chang 3 Lunar Lander and Chang 4 in 2013, which Reached the exact side of the moon Chang 5 is the first of two planned sample return missions to date and one of China’s most ambitious lunar missions.
Bill Harwood contributed to this report.