Chang’e-5 probe 2020 : Chinese Moon Mission | UPSC

Chang’e-5 probe 2020 : Chinese Moon Mission | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

China to launch moon probe, seeking first lunar rock retrieval since 1970s

      WHY IN NEWS:

The Chang’e-5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, will seek to collect material that can help scientists understand more about the moon’s origins and formation.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Space

      ISSUE: 

If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the United States and the Soviet Union decades ago.

CHANG’E-5 PROBE

Chang’e-5 probe 2020 : Chinese Moon Mission | UPSC

CHANG’E 5 MISSION | SOURCES : WIKI COMMONS

OVERVIEW

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is designed to be conducted in four phases of incremental technological advancement.

  • FIRST PHASE : The first was simply reaching lunar orbit, a task completed by Chang’e 1 in 2007 and Chang’e 2 in 2010.
  • SECOND PHASE : The second is landing and roving on the Moon, as Chang’e 3 did in 2013 and Chang’e 4 in 2019.
  • THIRD PHASE : 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.
  • FOURTH PHASE : The fourth phase consists of development of a robotic research station near the Moon’s south pole.

Chang’e-5 probe 2020 : Chinese Moon Mission | UPSC

THE MISSION

LAUNCH

  • It will launch from the Wenchang Satellite launch centre in Hainan.

OVERVIEW

  • China’s probe, scheduled to launch in coming days, will attempt to collect 2 kg (4 1/2 pounds) of samples.

It will land in a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or “Ocean of Storms”.

  • Subsequent data will be taken from orbital remote sensing missions have shown a wider diversity of rock types, mineralogies and ages.
  • The Chang’e-5 mission may help answer questions such as how long the moon remained volcanically active in its interior .
  • Also, about its magnetic field – key to protecting any form of life from the sun’s radiation – dissipated.

The program aims to facilitate a crewed lunar landing in the 2030s and possibly build an outpost near the lunar south pole

LANDER PAYLOAD

The lander will carry

  • Landing cameras and a panoramic camera
  • A spectrometer to determine mineral composition
  • A soil gas analytical instrument
  • A soil composition analytical instrument
  • A sampling sectional thermo-detector
  • A ground-penetrating radar.

For acquiring samples, it will be equipped with a robotic arm, a rotary-percussive drill and separation tubes to isolate individual samples. 

RETURN JOUNEY

Return Journey

SOURCES : WIKI COMMONS | Chang’e-5 probe 2020 : Chinese Moon Mission | UPSC

BACKGROUND

CHINESE MISSION

  • Once in the moon’s orbit, the probe will aim to deploy a pair of vehicles to the surface.

A lander will drill into the ground, then transfer its soil and rock samples to an ascender that will lift off and dock with an orbiting module.

  • If this is successful, the samples will be transferred to a return capsule that will return them to Earth.
  • China made its first lunar landing in 2013.
  • In January 2019, the Chang’e-4 probe touched down on the far side of the moon, the first by any nation’s space probe.
  • The Soviet Union crash-landed the Luna 2 on the moon in 1959, a handful of other countries including Japan and India have launched moon missions.

The Soviet Union deployed three successful robotic sample return missions in the 1970s.

  • The last, the Luna 24, retrieved 170.1 grams (6 ounces) of samples in 1976 from Mare Crisium, or “Sea of Crises”.

U.S. MISSIONS

In the Apollo programme, which first put men on the moon, the United States landed 12 astronauts over six flights from 1969 to 1972.

  • They brought back 382 kg (842 pounds) of rocks and soil.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The Chang’e-5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon.

Within the next decade, China plans to establish a robotic base station to conduct unmanned exploration in the south polar region.

  • It is to be developed through the Chang’e-6,7 and 8 missions through the 2020s and expanded through the 2030s ahead of manned landings.
  • China plans to retrieve samples from Mars by 2030.
  • In July, China launched an unmanned probe to Mars in its first independent mission to another planet.
     SOURCES:  THE IE  | Chang’e-5 probe 2020 : Chinese Moon Mission | UPSC

 

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