President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message on Thursday on the success of the Chang’e 5 mission, China’s most sophisticated and challenging space adventure, which has brought back the world’s first lunar samples in more than 40 years.
Xi said the Chang'e 5 mission, China’s most complicated space project, has achieved the Chinese space industry’s first extraterrestrial sampling and returning. It is the latest achievement by China's system, which is characterized by its ability to mobilize all available resources to overcome difficulties and achieve its goals, and also marks a major step forward in the country’s space industry, he said in the letter. The mission’s results will contribute to deepening mankind’s understanding of the origin of the moon and the evolution of the solar system, he noted. Noting that there is no end for space exploration, the president expressed his hope that the mission’s workers carry forward the lunar exploration spirit in order to embark on interplanetary expeditions.
The successful landing marked the completion of the historic 23-day Chang’e 5 expedition, the first in more than 40 years to bring lunar samples back to Earth, also marking China the third country to achieve this feat, after the United States and the former Soviet Union. A certain proportion of the samples will also be put on public display to enhance scientific awareness among the public, especially the younger generation, sources close to the mission said.
Chang’e 5, China’s largest and most advanced lunar probe, consisted of four main components — an orbiter, lander, ascender and reentry capsule. The probe was launched by a Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket early on Nov 24 at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China’s Hainan province, setting out on China’s most difficult space mission and the world’s first to retrieve lunar samples since 1976.
According to the space administration, the Chang’e 5 mission was designated to fulfill several objectives. In terms of space engineering, it should demonstrate and verify technical plans and apparatus for autonomous lunar sampling and packing, moon-based launching as well as lunar orbital docking.
In the scientific context, it was tasked with investigating the landing site’s geological and topographical features, and it enabled scientists to analyze lunar samples’ structure and physical traits so they can deepen their research into the moon's origins and evolution. The mission also aimed to help foster the country’s knowledge, technology and talent pool for future manned lunar missions and other deep-space expeditions.
From China Daily 2020.12.18