On Sunday, December 6, 2020, the Chinese probe “Changi 5” succeeded in docking with the vehicle that remained in the moon’s orbit, after it left the lunar surface on Thursday, December 3, 2020 carrying samples of it that would return to Earth.
The docking was part of the probe’s ambitious mission to return to Earth with samples from the surface for the first time in 40 years.
“Changi 5” consists of several parts, which are an arbiter (which remained in the moon’s orbit while performing the mission), a lunar lander (which landed on the lunar surface), and an ascent module ( From the surface to the lunar orbit).
According to the official New China News Agency of the National Space Agency, the last part that bears samples of the moon’s surface was the one that was joined by the orbiter Sunday morning.
And the new Chinese agency has stressed that docking is “the first of its kind in the lunar orbit” for China.
The departure of the capsule from the lunar surface on Thursday has also acquired a historic character for China, as this was the first time Beijing took off a vehicle in a space location.
After the samples were first placed in the ascending unit, they were emptied into the capsule which according to the news agency would return to Earth.
And if the probe can bring the samples back to Earth, China will become the third country to bring samples from the moon, after the United States and the former Soviet Union.
The last Soviet attempt with an unmanned “Luna 24” spacecraft dates back to 1976, and was successfully completed.
The mission is part of China’s space program, which in early 2019 achieved an unprecedented scientific achievement after its vehicle landed on a part of the moon that could not be seen from Earth.
This is not the first time that China has sent chariots to the moon as part of the “Changi” program, according to Chinese mythology, is the name of the moon-goddess.
China has previously sent two small rabbits to the moon named “Jade Rabbit” in 2013 and 2019.
China has invested billions of dollars in its space program to capture Europe, the United States and Russia, and it launched the first Chinese astronaut in 2003.