Beijing: To bring back the lunar rocks, China plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon by this week. Since the 1970s, this is any nation’s first attempt to retrieve samples from Earth’s natural satellite.
The Chang’e-5 probe, named after the moon’s ancient Chinese goddess, will endeavor to get material. These assembled materials will help the scientist understand and research more about the moon’s origin and composition. If the mission is successful, China will be the only third country to reclaim lunar samples, following the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1959, the Soviet Union crash-landed Luna 2 on the moon, which was the first-ever human-made object to arrive at another celestial body—after that, countries like India and Japan also launched moon missions. In the 1970s, the Soviet Union extended three successful robotic sample return missions. In 1976 the last – Luna 24 recovered 170.1 grams of samples from Mare Crisium.
According to the reports, China’s mission, which will be launch by this week, will seek to collect 2kg of samples in an earlier unvisited area in a vast lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or “Ocean of Storms.” This mission will also help clarify many questions, such as when the moon remained volcanically active in its interior.
James Head, a planetary scientist at Brown University said “The Apollo-Luna sample zone of the moon, while critical to our understanding, was undertaken in an area that comprises far less than half the lunar surface. Subsequent data from orbital remote sensing missions have shown a wider diversity of rock types, mineralogies and ages than represented in the Apollo-Luna sample collections. Lunar scientists have been advocating for robotic sample return missions to these many different critical areas in order to address a host of fundamental questions remaining from earlier exploration.”