Chang'e 5 (Chinese: 嫦娥五号; pinyin: Cháng'é wǔhào) is a robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission consisting of an orbiter and a lander. It is currently under development and it is scheduled for a launch in December 2019, after being postponed due to the failure of the Long March 5 launch vehicle in 2017. Chang'e 5 will be China's first sample return mission, aiming to return at least 2 kilograms of lunar soil and rock samples back to the Earth. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese moon goddess, Chang'e. This will be the first lunar sample-return mission since Luna 24 in 1976.
|Mission type||Surface sample return|
|Launch mass||8,200 kg (18,100 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||December 2019|
|Rocket||Chang Zheng 5|
|End of mission|
|Landing site||Mons Rumker region of Oceanus Procellarum|
|Sample mass||2 kg (4.4 lb)|
The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is designed to be conducted in three phases of incremental technological advancement: The first is simply reaching lunar orbit, a task completed by Chang'e 1 in 2007 and Chang'e 2 in 2010. The second is landing and roving on the Moon, as Chang'e 3 did in 2013 and Chang'e 4 (launched in December 2018, expected to landing on the Moon in 2019). The third phase is collecting lunar samples from the near-side and sending them to Earth, a task for the future Chang'e 5 and Chang'e 6 missions. The program aims to facilitate a crewed lunar landing in the 2030s and possibly build an outpost near the south pole.
The probe was planned for launch by the Long March 5 rocket at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island, but the failure of this vehicle in 2017 created uncertainty about its ability to carry Chang'e 5. Targeted to the northwest region of the Moon, the specific region intended for sampling is Mons Rümker in Oceanus Procellarum. After making a soft landing, the lander will dig 2 metres (6.6 ft) below the surface for a 2 kg lunar sample from basalt estimated to be 1.3 billion years old, younger than the 3–4 billion year old samples obtained by the American Apollo missions.
Chang'e 5-T1 is an experimental robotic lunar mission that was launched on 23 October 2014 to conduct atmospheric re-entry tests on the capsule design planned to be used in the Chang'e 5 mission.
The lander will carry landing cameras, optical cameras, a mineral spectrometer, a soil gas analytical instrument, a soil composition analytical instrument, a sampling sectional thermo-detector, and a ground-penetrating radar. For acquiring samples, it will be equipped with a robotic arm, rotary-percussive drill, a scoop for sampling, and separation tubes to isolate individual samples.
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