China Positions Rocket Ahead of Ambitious Lunar Mission

China moves Long March5 rocket to launch site ahead of Change 5 lunar lander launch

China moves Long March5 rocket to launch site ahead of Change 5 lunar lander launch

The fifth Long March-5 rocket, to be used to launch China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe, was vertically transported to the launching area at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province on Tuesday. According to CASC, the rocket has been delivered by sea to the Wenchang city in late September, after which specialists performed a series of preparations and necessary tests. If the mission is successful, it will be the first spacecraft to bring back materials from the Moon in some 40 years. Final examinations and tests will be conducted on the rocket before the launch. The lander will drill 2 meters beneath the surface and scoop up around 2 kilograms of rocks and other debris to be brought to earth.

The samples will be placed in a vessel aboard the ascender, which will dock with the orbiter and returner, orbiting the moon.

"This is now one of our country's most complicated and multifaceted space missions", CASC noted.

Considering these highly sophisticated operations, Chang'e 5 will be more hard and challenging than previous Chinese lunar expeditions, designers said.

Carolyn van der Bogert, a planetary geologist at the University of Munster, Germany, said: "Taking the samples from the moon to the next level is a significant technological feat".

The mission would allow scientists to study newly obtained lunar materials for the fist time since the American and Russian missions of the 1960s and 1970s.

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China will launch lunar probe Chang'e-5 to the moon in about a week's time.

Chang'e-5, one of China's most ever ambitious space missions, is expected to return to earth by mid-December.

China is drawing up plans for the fourth phase of its moon exploration programme.

'This is the first time it will carry out the tasks of collecting samples and returning [to earth].

China now has a mission on the way to Mars, along with a rover on the moon's far side that is providing the first full measurements of radiation exposure from the lunar surface, information vital for any country that plans to send astronauts to the moon.

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