The plan represents the first attempt at sampling Moon rock since the 1970s.
Launch Reuters, Sunday (11/22/2020), the plane named Wahana Chang’e-5 will launch on November 24.
Its mission is to seek to gather material to assist scientists in understanding its origins and further formation.
The mission will test China‘s ability to obtain samples remotely, before other, more complex missions.
Equaling America and the Soviet Union
Since the Soviet Union successfully landed the Luna 2 plane on the Moon in 1959, several other countries including Japan and India have launched missions to the Earth satellite.
The mission is to extract rocks and soil from the Moon weighing 382 kilograms.
The Soviet Union then deployed three successful robotic sample return missions in the 1970s. Finally, Luna 24 managed to take 170.1 grams of samples in 1976.
A Chinese investigation is trying to collect 2 kilograms of samples in a previously never visited area, namely Oceanus Procellarum.
“The lunar Apollo-Luna sample zone, although important to our understanding, was located in an area that comprises less than half of the lunar surface,” said planetary scientist at Brown University in the United States, James Head.
Subsequent data from orbital remote sensing missions have shown a wider diversity of rock types, mineralogy and age.
Mission carried out
The Chang’e-5 mission could help answer questions such as how long the Moon remains volcanically active and when its magnetic field disappears.
Once in lunar orbit, the probe will direct a pair of vehicles to the surface and land them on the ground.
Then, the vehicle transfers the sample and rock to an ascender, which will take off and anchor with the orbital module.
If successful, the sample will be transferred to a capsule and brought to Earth.
China made its first lunar landing in 2013. In 2019, the Chang’e-4 probe landed on the far side of the Moon.
In the next decade, China plans to set up a robotic base station for unmanned exploration in the south polar region.
It will be developed through the Chang’e-67 and 8 missions throughout the 2020s and extended into the 2030s leading up to manned landings.