March 31, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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The Chinese capsule carries the moon’s rocks back to Earth

The Chinese capsule carries the moon's rocks back to Earth

BEIJING (AP) – The China lunar capsule returned to Earth on Thursday with the latest specimens of rock and debris from the moon over 40 years.

The capsule of the Changi 5 probe landed in the Sijivang district of the Inner Mongolia region, state media reported just after 2:00 (1800 GMT).

The capsule is already detached from its orbiter module, bounces off the Earth’s atmosphere, slows down, and floats to Earth in parachutes.

Two of the four modules of the Chang 5 were set up on the moon on December 1 and collected samples of about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) by scooping from the surface and drilling 2 meters (about 6 feet) into the moon’s crust.

The samples were deposited in a sealed container and transported back to the return module by the ascending vehicle.

The successful mission includes plans for a robotic mission to Mars and a space station in permanent orbit for China’s increasingly ambitious space program.

Recovery crews made helicopters and off-road vehicles home on signals emitted by the lunar spacecraft, spotted in the dark and covered a vast area of ​​snow-covered north of China that was used as a landing site for China’s Shenzhou crew spacecraft. .

The spacecraft returned in 1976 for the first time since the Luna 24 robot probe of the former Soviet Union, where scientists obtained the latest models of lunar rocks.

The newly collected rocks are thought to be billions of years smaller than those obtained by the US and the former Soviet Union, providing new insights into the history of the Moon and other objects in the solar system. They came from the moon known as Oceanus Procellarium or Ocean of Storms near a place called Mons Runker which was believed to be a volcano in ancient times.

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Similar to the 382 kilograms (842 pounds) lunar specimens brought by U.S. astronauts from 1969 to 1972, they are expected to be analyzed for age and composition and shared with other countries.

The age of the models helps to fill the gap of knowledge about the history of the moon about 1 billion and three billion years ago, said Brad Jollif, director of the MacDonald Center for Space Sciences at the University of Washington in the US city. Louis, said in an email. They could provide evidence of the availability of economically viable resources on the moon, such as concentrated hydrogen and oxygen, Jolif said.

“These models are a treasure!” Jolif said. “I have my hat on our Chinese colleagues for removing a very difficult mission; the science that flows from the analysis of returned samples has a very, many years of legacy and an international community of scientists.”

On November 23, Chang 5 exploded from a launch pad in Hainan, China’s southern island province, and appeared to have completed a technically advanced mission without neutrality.

It was recognized as China’s third successful lunar landing, but the only one lifted again from the moon. Its predecessor, Chang 4, became the first probe to land on the Moon’s less-explored long distance and continues to send back data on conditions that could affect the future expansion of humans on the Moon.

The moon is a special focus of the Chinese space program, which says it plans to land humans there and build a permanent base. No timeline or other details have been announced.

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China has also joined in the effort to explore Mars. In July, it launched the Tianwen 1 probe, which will carry a lander and robotic rover to search for water.

In 2003, China became the third country to send an astronaut into orbit after the Soviet Union and the United States, and in the 1960s its space program advanced far more carefully than the US-Soviet space race, with fatalities and launch failures. By taking increasing measures, China looks to create a program that can sustain sustainable progress.

“They (the US Lunar Program) read and admired the Apollo Playbook, but also learned the format,” said Joan Johnson-Freese, an expert on the Chinese space program at the U.S. Naval War College. “It’s better to go slow and build infrastructure quickly for the future and end up with a few that allow you to keep going.”

The latest aircraft is in collaboration with the European Space Agency, which will assist in monitoring the mission. Amid concerns over the secrecy of China’s space program and close military ties, the U.S. will suspend cooperation between NASA and CNSA unless Congress approves it. This prevented China from participating in the International Space Station, which sought to replace it with the launch of an experimental space center and plans to complete the Ptpost‌, which is in permanent orbit for the next two years.