China has some very big plans for the moon, and a major launch planned for later this year will be a big step toward that goal.
It’s been decades since man last landed on the moon, and now China is finally getting in on the fun, except their plans are a bit different: they hope to figure out a way to mine the moon’s precious resources. Toward that end, they are launching a probe in November of this year that would land on the lunar surface and gather samples, a key first step to establishing a mining operation on the moon in the future.
China calls it the Chang’e 5 mission, which will be the first major effort to land a probe on the moon following on Chang’e-3, which recently discovered a new type of moon rock caused by volcanic activity on the moon. Next year, China will send Chang’e 4 to the other side of the moon for the first landing on the unseen part of the lunar surface.
But it’s the Chang’e 5 mission that will help China realize its goal of collection precious resources on the moon, a challenge that many other countries around the globe are interested in as well.
“With a weight of 8.2 tonnes, the lunar probe is comprised of four parts: an orbiter, a returner, an ascender and a lander,” said Ye Peijian, one of China’s leading aerospace experts and a consultant to the program, was quoted in a report by state run Chinese newspaper Xinhua.
The report adds: “The lander will put moon samples in a vessel in the ascender after the moon landing. Then the ascender will take off from the moon to dock with the orbiter and the returner orbiting the moon, and transfer the samples to the returner. The orbiter and returner then head back to the earth, separating from each other when they are several thousands kilometers from earth. Finally, the returner will reenter the earth.”