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Current Affairs

Chang’e-5 probe

Date: 24 November 2020 Tags: Space

Issue

China’s Chang’e-5 lunar mission will become the first probe in over four decades to bring back samples of lunar rock from a previously unexplored portion of the Moon.

 

Background

Chang’e-5 probe is the Chinese National Space Administration’s (CNSA) lunar sample return mission. It aims at studying lunar regolith.

 

Details

  • Early in 2019, China’s Chang’e-4 probe successfully transmitted images from the far side of the Moon, also referred to as the dark side. This was the first probe to land in this portion of the Moon.

  • The goal of the mission is to land in the Mons Rumker region of the moon, where it will operate for one lunar day, which is two weeks long, and return a 2 kg sample of the lunar rock possibly by digging about 2 metres deep into the surface of the Moon.

  • The mission comprises a lunar orbiter, a lander, and an ascent probe that will lift the lunar samples back into orbit and return them back to Earth.

  • Chang’e-5 comprises a robotic arm, a coring drill, a sample chamber and is also equipped with a camera, penetrating radar, and a spectrometer.

 

Significance of lunar gravel

  • Lunar samples can help to unravel some important questions in lunar science and astronomy, including the Moon’s age, the formation of the Moon, the similarities and differences between the Earth and the Moon’s geologic features and history and to see if the Moon can give scientists information about the solar system itself.

  • The shape, size, arrangement, and composition of individual grains and crystals in a rock can tell scientists about its history, while the radioactive clock can tell them the rock’s age. Further, tiny cracks in rocks can tell them about the radiation history of the Sun in the last 100,000 years.

  • Rocks found on the Moon are older than any that have been found on Earth and therefore they are valuable in providing information about the Earth and the Moon’s shared history.