China's Chang'e-5 probe prepares to land on moon

Space workers monitor the status of Chang'e 5 at a control center in Beijing on Tuesday

Space workers monitor the status of Chang'e 5 at a control center in Beijing on Tuesday

China launched its Chang'e-5 probe on November 24. The lander-ascender combination of the spacecraft separated from its orbiter-returner combination at 4:40 a.m. Monday (Beijing Time), according to the China National Space Administration.

Upon entering the moon's orbit, the spacecraft is meant to deploy a pair of vehicles to the lunar surface: a lander and an ascender.

Once completed, the Chang'e-5 probe will become part of the world's first unmanned sample return mission from the moon in 40 years, and will make China thethird country in the world to bring back lunar samples after the USA and the former Soviet Union.

Before the latest maneuver, Chang'e 5 carried out two orbital corrections and two braking operations.

Upon landing, the lander vehicle is supposed to drill into the ground with a robotic arm, then transfer its soil and rock samples to an ascender vehicle that would lift off and dock with an orbiting module.

Fauci warns Americans to brace for 'surge upon surge' of virus
Since January, when the first infections were reported in the USA , the nation's total number of cases has surpassed 13 million. Surgeon General Jerome Adams supplemented Fauci's remarks, also warning in a Fox News interview on Sunday of coming spikes.

In the next two days, the lander will collect about two kilograms of lunar samples.

The only other countries to have achieved the feat are the United States and the Soviet Union.

China made its first lunar landing in 2013.

The orbiter reentry combination capsule will then return to the Earth's orbit, where the pair will break up and the reentry capsule will conduct a series of complicated maneuvers to return to a preset landing site in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region in mid-December.

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