China has launched an ambitious mission named Chang’e-5 on Tuesday to bring back rocks and debris from the moon’s surface,
This is country’s first attempt to retrieve samples from an extraterrestrial body in more than 40 years.
The mission Chang’e-5 is named after the ancient Chinese moon goddess and if successful it could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally.
The successful mission would make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, joining the United States and the Soviet Union.
The four modules of the Chang’e 5 spacecraft blasted off at just after 4:30 a.m. Tuesday (2030 GMT Monday, 3:30 p.m. EST Monday) atop a massive Long March-5Y rocket from the Wenchang launch center along the coast of China’s southern island province of Hainan.
The launch was broadcast live by the Chinese national broadcaster CCTV .
China launches #ChangE5 spacecraft to collect, return samples from the #moon. It's one of the most complicated and challenging missions in China's aerospace history. #LunarProbe pic.twitter.com/rr24M3pSiC— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) November 23, 2020
According to Pei Zhaoyu, a spokesman for the mission, the landing is due to take place in about eight days.
Upon entering the moon’s orbit, the spacecraft is meant to deploy a pair of vehicles to the lunar surface: a lander and an ascender.
The mission is due to be on the lunar surface for about two days, and the entire probe is scheduled to take around 23 days.