Chang’e 5 returns with first fresh rock samples from the moon

  • IASbaba
  • December 23, 2020
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Chang’e 5 returns with first fresh rock samples from the moon

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Sci & Tech

In news

  • China’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission returned to Earth carrying around 2 kilograms of the first fresh rock samples from the moon in 44 years. 
  • The spacecraft recently landed in Siziwang Banner, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Key takeaways 

  • The probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, first took off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan on November 24th.
  • Two of the Chang’e 5’s four modules landed on the moon on 1st December and collected about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of samples by scooping them from the surface and drilling 2 meters into the moon’s crust.
  • The samples were deposited in a sealed container that was carried back to the return module by an ascent vehicle.
  • The retrieved re-entry capsule of Chang’e-5 will be airlifted to Beijing, where the capsule will be opened and the samples will be ready for analysis.
  • With this, China became the third country after the United States and the Soviet Union, to collect lunar samples.
  • These are also the first samples to be collected by any country after Russia in 1976.

Do you know? 

  • The samples were retrieved from a previously unvisited area of the moon.
  • The latest samples come from a part of the moon known as the Oceanus Procellarum, or Ocean of Storms, near a site called the Mons Rumker that was believed to have been volcanic in ancient times.
  • Mons Rumker, never sampled before, is geologically younger than the sampling areas of the U.S. and the Soviet missions.

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