Last week, China secretly launched its Chang’e 5 spacecraft to the moon. The probe has now reached the lunar orbit, preparing to strike the surface of the moon in the coming days.
At around 4:48 a.m. On Saturday, the probe burned its main engine for 17 minutes to slow down sufficiently to absorb the gravity of the moon, according to the China Space Exploration Mission. 12:40 p.m. On Sunday, PT removed the launch vehicle and its ascend vehicle from its unit in orbit around the moon.
The spacecraft will proceed to travel around the moon approximately 125 miles above the surface, while the spacecraft and the ascent vehicle will separately attempt to hit the lunar surface. It’s going to pass within 10 miles of descent. China’s Space Exploration Program has not provided official information as to when the landing is expected to take place, but China’s space watchers expect it will be in the next 48 to 72 hours.
Upon landing, Chang’e 5 is expected to collect about 4.5 pounds of lunar soil from Mons Rumker, a volcanic area shaped like a zit on the moon’s surface, before going back to orbital and moving its spoils to an orbiter.
Lunar specimens were last brought to the Soviet spacecraft in 1976.
Last, of the Luna mission series, the mission of the Luna 24 probe was the third Soviet project to retrieve lunar soil samples from the Moon. The probe landed at Mare Crissum (Sea of Crises). The experiment brought 170.1 grams (6.00 oz.) of celestial samples to Earth on 22 August 1976 and remained the most successful Lunar Return Sample Mission.