Successful launch for Chang'e 5: it will collect rocks from the moon
China will be the third country, after the United States and Russia, to obtain lunar material which is needed to study the origin and history of the solar system. Chang'e 5 is expected to take samples from the volcanic area of Mons Rümker (in the Oceanus Procellarum).
Beijing (AsiaNews) - A spaceship carrying a robot was launched this morning at 4.30 from the Wenchang base on the island of Hainan. The Chang'e 5 has the task of reaching the lunar soil and picking up shreds of rocks and soil even at depth to be brought back to earth to study. China would become the third country, after the United States and Russia, to obtain important lunar material necessary for the study of the origin and history of the solar system.
Chang'e 5 should take samples from the volcanic area of Mons Rümker (in the Oceanus Procellarum), considered by scientists to be a "young" part of the moon because it has more volcanic activity than other areas (1-2 billion years). Other areas studied by the United States and Russia are 3-4 billion years old.
The lunar mission is expected to last 23 days. The spacecraft should return to earth and be recovered in Inner Mongolia.
China has stepped up its involvement in space exploration in recent years. Last year one of its probes landed on the hidden part of the Earth's satellite; in July it launched a robot ship to reach Mars. The Chinese Space Centre also plans to have a permanent space station by 2022.