China’s Chang’e-5 lander successfully landed on the moon at around 11:00 p.m. (Beijing Time) on Tuesday, 1 December, marking the third time China has managed to place a robotic spacecraft on the moon’s surface.
The next phase of the mission will see the lander attempt to collect lunar materials before sending it back to Earth later this month. The mission consists of four main spacecraft’s that will all work together to bring between 2 to 4 kilograms of lunar dirt back to Earth.
Two of the four spacecraft’s, the lander and an ascent vehicle, separated from the Chang’e-5’s service module on November, 28 which remained in orbit around the moon. the lander and accent module are the two spacecraft’s that landed on the moon on Tuesday evening, according to CGTN.
— 星海 (@starmil_admin) November 30, 2020
Over the course of the next few days, the lander will use its robotic arm to drill into the surface of the moon to collect lunar dirt and rocks. The samples collected will then be stored in the ascender, which will lift off from the lunar surface to transfer the moon samples to the returner and orbiter waiting in the lunar orbit, according to CGTN.
Once the samples have collected and stored the accent module will blast off from the moon’s surface where it will meet up with the service module waiting in orbit, before making their way back to Earth, which is expected to land in north China’s Inner Mongolia region.
#China‘s Chang’e-5 successfully lands on moon today. If everything proceeds smoothly, about 2 kilograms of stones and soil will be brought back to earth. Good luck! #Change5 pic.twitter.com/rjuVPvFtW0
— Chinese Embassy in US (@ChineseEmbinUS) December 1, 2020