Go to contents

China’s Chang’e-5 mission returns with Moon samples

Posted December. 18, 2020 07:40,   

Updated December. 18, 2020 07:40


China’s “Chang’e-5” mission returned to Earth with Moon samples early on Thursday morning. This is the first lunar sample collection since the Soviet Luna mission brought its samples home 44 years ago. Chinese media celebrated the achievement, saying that the nation has joined the ranks of space powers.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the Chang’e-5 spacecraft landed on a high volcanic region called “Mons Rümker.” Being relatively new, rock and soil from this terrain are expected to help understand the volcanic activity on the Moon. Chinese state media Global Times reported the Chang’e-5 mission has become the “first” venture that explored the terrain after the Chang’e-4 mission became the first probe to land on the far side of the Moon in January last year.

It is also worth noting that two kilograms of samples have been retrieved, six times the 330-gram sample collected by the Soviet Luna mission. This was possible because Chang’e-5’s return journey to Earth required much less fuel. Unlike the Soviet Luna mission that used the fuel in the ascending vehicle to return to Earth, a robotic vehicle docked with a module in the Chang’e-5 venture, which did not require as much fuel.

Ki-Yong Kim kky@donga.com