China’s Chang’e-5 completes lunar surface sampling and sealing

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China’s Chang’e-5 probe completed the task of collecting and sealing samples of the moon’s surface at 10:00 p.m. BJT on Wednesday, according to China’s National Space Administration.

After automatic collection, the samples were sealed as intended in a storage device carried by the plotter, and will be transferred to the turner in the following tasks.

While the probe was operating, the ground crew simulated the entire sampling process in the lab based on the data they returned, which provided an important benchmark for it.

The payloads of the lander, which performed the scientific exploration as intended and provided data support for the sampling, were functioning normally.

China’s Chang’e-5 probe samples the lunar surface, December 2, 2020. / CNSA

China’s Chang’e-5 probe samples the lunar surface, December 2, 2020. / CNSA

Automatic sampling is one of the main tasks of the Chang’e-5 mission.

The probe withstood the high temperature on the lunar surface of over 100 degrees Celsius and overcame the stresses of measurement and control, lighting, power, and other conditions.

He used two sampling methods: a robotic arm for taking surface samples at multiple points and drills to penetrate the soil to take samples. The latter was finished Wednesday morning.

Sealing work was carried out on the moon to ensure that the intact samples are not affected by the external environment upon return to Earth.

A variety of payloads on board the spacecraft, including the landing camera, panoramic camera, lunar soil structure detector, and lunar mineral spectrum analyzer, will play a crucial role in exploring morphology of the lunar surface, mineral composition and shallow lunar structure.

Then the ascender should take off from the surface of the moon to transfer the samples to the turner and orbiter waiting in the lunar orbit. The turner, at an appropriate date and time, will separate from the orbiter and return the samples to Earth.

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